Opinion: Will EWU football leave a doubt this season?


Mckenzie Ford for The Easterner

The EWU football team enters Roos Field on Oct. 6, 2018 before a victory over Southern Utah.

By Taylor Newquist, Sports Editor

Taylor Newquist is the Sports Editor for The Easterner. The opinion expressed in this article is his own, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Easterner’s editorial board.

The 2017 EWU football team finished the season 7-4 overall and 6-2 in Big Sky conference play, and it was held out of the playoffs by a FCS committee decision.

Going into the 2018 season, its mantra was to “leave no doubt”, but after an Oct. 13 loss to Weber State, where the Eagles failed to find the end zone, doubt is on the doorstep.

The Eagles still hold the No. 5 spot in the nation, and are tied for second place in the Big Sky with Weber. EWU has four games remaining in the season, and if it is to lose another game, may again find itself at the mercy of a committee decision for the second straight year.

To make matters worse, senior starting quarterback Gage Gubrud has missed the last two weeks with a lower leg injury that has lingered through the bye week. Although he returned to practice on Tuesday, and was able to run freely, head coach Aaron Best has been anything but certain on his condition. Best said that he expects Gubrud to return to action at some point before the end of the season, but has left the time-table completely open.

In EWU’s favor, three of its last four games come against BSC teams that fall in the bottom half of the standings.

Ninth-place University of Idaho, eleventh-place Northern Colorado and eighth-place Portland State  should all be wins for this Eagle team. Their toughest test will come on Nov. 10 when first place UC Davis comes to Cheney. The Aggies are the last undefeated team in BSC play, and if EWU loses it could find itself falling in the tightly contested BSC standings.

There are a lot of games left to play, but if the Eagles really want to “leave no doubt” on whether they deserve to have a place in the FCS playoffs, they will need to win out. Any slip-up now will be costly.