Eagles batter Aggies in second half


Bailey Monteith

Senior cornerback Nzuzi Webster celebrates as he runs in an interception to open the scoring in the second half. Webster’s touchdown was his first of his career.

By Taylor Newquist, Sports Editor

With the year’s first snowfall comes the fact that winter is coming, and games on the football schedule become increasingly important.

EWU welcomed UC Davis—the last undefeated team in the Big Sky—to Cheney with freezing temperatures and a blowout the Aggies will want to soon forget.

The No. 5 Eagles (8-2, 6-1) beat the No. 4 Aggies (8-2, 6-1) by a score of 59-20 to move into a tie for first place in the Big Sky, with only one week of games remaining. The win likely secures EWU a place in the FCS playoffs regardless of the outcome in Friday’s matchup against Portland State.

“This year it was kind of personal for us,” senior wide receiver Nsimba Webster said. “I feel like we have a long season ahead, but for us we got through a wall. Now we can take it up a notch and Portland State is going to have to deal with us. We’re coming, we’re on fire right now.”

UC Davis jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead, that was erased by 21 unanswered points from EWU. The Eagles put together three rushing touchdowns from three different backs in the first and second quarter, and held UC Davis to five straight punts after their first two scores.

UC Davis closed the first half with a 69 yard run from Tehran Thomas, to make it a 21-17 game at half, but Nzuzi Webster opened the second half with a 45 yard interception return for a touchdown. The interception was Webster’s first of the season.

“I kind of baited him a little bit,” Webster said. “I felt like that gave us the momentum for the rest of the half, and after that the defense was just money.”

Richard Clark IV
Sophomore quarterback Eric Barriere hurdles an Aggie defender. Barriere ran for 65 yards to add to his 285 yards passing.

From there it was all Eagles. EWU outscored UC Davis 38-3 in the second half, and out-gained the Aggies 350 yards to 137.

The Eagles forced five turnovers in the game. They grabbed three interceptions and forced two fumbles to have a plus four turnover margin. EWU is now 47-0 since 2010 when leading the turnover margin.

“When you get five turnovers it’s exciting,” head coach Aaron Best said. “Last week we got a penalty because we were so excited on the sideline. We bumped into a referee and I’ll take those penalties because of excitement.”

EWU runners gained 372 yards in the game and scored six touchdowns. The offense totalled 669 yards of offense that will likely keep them first in the FCS.

The Eagles have a short week before a Friday night game in Portland against PSU. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.