Eagles to face Northern Colorado as Barriere takes starting QB role


Mckenzie Ford

Sophomore Eric Barriere takes a snap against Idaho on Oct. 27. Barriere finished the game with a career-high 326 yards passing.

By Taylor Newquist, Sports Editor

Questions looming around the Eagles’ quarterback situation have come to a close, as senior Gage Gubrud undergoes season-ending foot surgery, and sophomore Eric Barriere takes his spot at the head of the huddle.

“So much talent,” Gubrud said about Barriere’s abilities at quarterback. “He’s got a long way to go from a leadership standpoint and with knowledge of the system, but you watch that guy play and the speed that he plays with is really impressive.”

In his three starts this season, Barriere has had mixed results. He flashed his abilities against Southern Utah University and the University of Idaho, combining for 559 yards passing with four touchdowns and rushing for 168 yards with two touchdowns. But against Weber State University’s defense, which is ranked first in the Big Sky, Barriere threw two interceptions and the Eagles’ offense was held out of the endzone for the first time since 2008.

“There was the huge announcement [on Thursday] and that’s when I found out I was the guy,” Barriere said about becoming the starting quarterback for the rest of the season. “I was happy inside, I gave my mom a call and she was happy for me.”

Barriere’s career-high 326 yards passing against the Vandals, was the most by an EWU quarterback in BSC play this year.

“It might give us more of a ceiling,” head coach Aaron Best said about the team’s potential with Barriere stepping into the starting role. “Because Barriere is untapped, just like any guy you haven’t seen.”

This week the No.5 Eagles (4-1, 6-2) travel to Greeley, Colorado to play the University of Northern Colorado (2-4, 2-7). EWU has won all nine meetings between the two teams in Big Sky play.

The Bears enter the game on a two game win streak—their only wins of the season. Last week they beat Southern Utah 42-39, a team the Eagles beat 55-17 on Oct. 6.

The EWU defense has been the team’s key to success thus far in the season. In the last five BSC contests, the Eagles haven’t allowed more than 17 points and held Weber and Idaho to 14 points the last two games.

This year the Eagles have outscored opponents by 139 points, a combined score of 316-177. At this point last season EWU had a negative-13 point differential, a combined score of 279-292.

EWU sits tied with Weber for second place in the BSC with three games remaining. The Eagles’ final home game is senior day on Nov. 10 against current BSC leader UC Davis, in what may essentially be a conference championship game. The Eagles then travel to play Portland State on a Friday to end the season.

This week’s kickoff against UNC is set for 11:05 a.m. and will be broadcast on watchbigsky.com. @Easternersports will also be providing live updates on Twitter.•