Barriere leads Eagles over Thunderbirds


Mckenzie Ford

EWU sophomore QB Eric Barriere drops back to pass against Southern Utah University on Oct. 6. The Eagles beat the Thunderbirds 55-17.

By Taylor Newquist, Sports Editor

The EWU offense did not skip a beat without starting quarterback Gage Gubrud suited up for the game against Southern Utah today, totalling 648 yards of offense.

Eric Barriere assumed the starting role and led the No. 5 Eagles (5-1, 3-0) to a 55-17 victory over the Thunderbirds (0-5, 0-2). Barriere completed 13 of 21 attempts for 233 yards and a touchdown, and added 98 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, including an 85-yard score– the longest by a quarterback in EWU history.

Barriere opened the game with a 48-yard pass to Andrew Boston, setting the tone for the rest of the afternoon.

“I thought that was a huge momentum boost,” Barriere said about the opening pass. “As an offense, and as a team. [We] came out of the gate throwing a nice 40-yard ball and then scoring a couple plays later, so I thought that was huge.”

Gubrud was a surprise scratch before the game, coming out with a boot on his right foot.

“We learned of this very recently,” head coach Aaron Best said about Gubrud’s injury. “[Barriere] was inserted into the starting lineup last night. He played his absolute tail off and [we] knew that he was going to have a good game.”

The EWU rushing attack continued to dominate against SUU’s lackluster defense, totalling 342 yards on 42 carries for an average of 8.14 yards per carry. Antoine Custer Jr. took a majority of the load gaining 77 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Eagles held the Thunderbirds to 362 yards, and forced two turnovers. Nose tackle Jay-Tee Tiuli recovered a mishandled snap in the end zone early in the second quarter, to record his first touchdown at EWU.

SUU is the third straight Big Sky team the Eagles held to 17 points.

“It’s not bigtime, It’s awesome.” Best said about the defense. “For all the same people that over the years it’s, ‘where’s the defense, where’s the defense?’ It’s a belief. There was no question this year that our defense was going to be okay this year. More than okay.”

The EWU defensive backs played a large part in stalling SUU drives. Safeties Mitch Fettig and Dehonta Hayes led the team in tackles, Fettig with nine and Hayes with 11. Hayes made his first career start in place of Tysen Prunty.

“I’ve been taking it week by week and just going out there every time my number is called, playing as hard as I can,” Hayes said. “Today being able to start I just wanted to show everybody that I’m ready to play.”

Hayes said that while he and Fettig are playing safety they have to let everyone on the defense know that they have their backs.

“If anything goes wrong — If there’s a ball thrown, or they run a little bit, we will be there to make that play,” Hayes said. “And that’s what we were trying to show them today.”

The Eagles have not yet been challenged in Big Sky play, outscoring opponents 159 to 51 and out-gaining them, 1,795 yards to 1,172 yards. Next week they take on No. 6 Weber State in Ogden, Utah in what is shaping up to be a showdown between two of the BSC’s best teams.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. and the game will be televised on ROOT Sports. Follow @Easternersports on Twitter for live updates.