Cooper Kupp breaks the NCAA FCS all-time receptions record in victory over Idaho State


Ivone Garza

By Riley Baker, Staff Writer

Cooper Kupp took center stage on Senior Day, breaking the NCAA FCS all-time record with 396 career passing receptions as EWU defeated Idaho State 48-17 on Saturday.

“It was great to see everybody here, especially a day like this when it’s Senior Day,” said head coach Beau Baldwin. “There was a lot of emotion and Coop’s record – it was just fun for everybody to be a part of it.”

Before the game, a ceremony was held honoring the team’s 12 graduating seniors. Not to be overshadowed by Kupp’s big day was senior center Jerrod Jones, who proposed to his now fiancé Maddie as he was being introduced during the ceremony.

Idaho State struck first with a field goal early in the first quarter to go ahead 3-0. EWU answered with three unanswered touchdowns from Jabari Wilson, Shaq Hill and Antoine Custer Jr. before ISU scored one of their own right before halftime, cutting the Eagle lead 20-10.

Custer’s score came on a career long 83-yard long run. He finished the night with 142 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown.

“Make the first man miss and then run as fast as I can,” Custer said of the thought process on his touchdown carry.

EWU came out hot in the second half as they have shown to do in each of their previous games. The offense scored four touchdowns in the final two quarters while the defense held ISU to only one.

The EWU defense kept the ISU run game in check and put pressure on the quarterback, sacking him four times to go along with a fumble recovery and an interception.

It took Kupp until the fourth quarter to finally haul in his seventh pass of the game and record breaking reception. Baldwin put Jordan West in to replace Gubrud in the middle of the final quarter and he quickly threw Kupp his record tying and breaking passes.

“It’s a testament of being around great coaches and great teammates,” said Kupp. “It’s been an amazing five years here and to learn from who I believe are the best players in the nation.”

EWU took a timeout immediately following the record breaking reception to allow both the team and fans to honor Kupp.

“The plan was to stop the game when it happened, but he usually has seven catches by the end of the first quarter, so we had to manufacture the last two,” said Baldwin. “It was pretty neat, and the other piece that is really special is that Jordan West got to throw him the record-tying and record-breaking balls. He came in here with Cooper and they are close friends as fifth-year seniors. That was a pretty neat deal for those two.”

Quarterback Gage Gubrud completed 16-of-27 passes with an interception for 212 yards and two touchdowns. For a team whose strongest asset is their passing game, EWU uncharacteristically produced more rushing yards (281) than passing (276).

ISU dropped their sixth straight to fall to 1-6 in conference while EWU won their seventh straight to improve to 7-0 and remain tied with North Dakota (8-0) atop the Big Sky Standings.

EWU plays a Friday game on Nov. 18 at 7:42 p.m. as they travel to Portland State to finish up the regular season. With a win, EWU can secure a spot in the FCS playoffs and most likely secure a top-two seed to gain home field advantage throughout the tournament. Tomorrow’s game will be televised live on Root Sports and broadcast on 700-AM ESPN.