Eagles thrashed by Huskies in football opener

EWU drops its third consecutive game to an FCS opponent

By Drew Lawson, Sports Editor

The EWU football team’s upset bid was quickly snuffed out by the Washington Huskies Saturday in each team’s season opener. UW found the endzone on its first three drives and didn’t let up much after that, piling up 570 yards of total offense. The final result was a 47-14 loss for the Eagles to kick off 2019.

EWU head coach Aaron Best said that the 2018 FCS runner-ups got “humbled” in the game by a team that is talented and well-coached.

“I wish we would’ve given them a a better game,” Best said.  “I don’t think we executed well.”

The first drive both offensively and defensively resulted in plays that killed any momentum EWU was trying to build. EWU went three-and-out after receiving the opening kickoff and accumulated two false start penalties on the drive. The EWU defense forced UW into a 4th and 2 from the EWU 23, but UW lined up in a wildcat formation and freshman running back Richard Newton took the snap to the house to get UW’s scoring started.

Richard N. Clark IV for The Easterner

Little mistakes plagued EWU throughout the day. EWU junior quarterback Eric Barriere was sacked four times, three of which came on third down and one on fourth down. The Eagles had a chance to get on the board in the second quarter after an 18-play, 74 yard drive that took 7:50 off the clock, but junior kicker Andre Slyter’s field goal attempt hooked just left to leave EWU empty.

“To have a chance in these games, you have to do things right consistently,” Best said. “We didn’t do that. Too many sacks (and) to miss a field goal when we were first and goal from the eight is tough.”

The EWU defense didn’t fare much better than the offense, surrendering 349 passing yards and four touchdowns to UW quarterback Jacob Eason, who made his first start for the Huskies after transferring from Georgia. Two of those touchdowns came from senior wide receiver Aaron Fuller, who made a one-handed toe-tapping catch in the corner of the endzone for UW’s third touchdown of the day. EWU junior linebacker Chris Ojoh, who led the team with 11 tackles, said the toughest aspect of facing UW’s offense was preparing for all their shifts and motions pre-snap.

Richard N. Clark IV for The Easterner

“They like to get into (formation) differently than what most FBS schools do,” Ojoh said. “Other than that, we just (didn’t) execute on our side of the ball.”

EWU managed only seven points per half. The first half score came on a 64-yard catch and run from Barriere to sophomore wide receiver Andrew Boston, who had 112 receiving yards on the day (84 on his scoring drive alone). The second half score came on a fourth down five yard scamper from senior running back Antoine Custer Jr. Boston said the UW defense did a good job of stifling EWU’s run game. The Eagles managed just 63 yards on the ground.

“They challenged us to beat them in a man defense,” Boston said. “We have to do a better job of man-to-man coverage… we didn’t make proper adjustments either.”

Richard N. Clark IV for The Easterner

Barriere went 21-35 for 211 yards and a touchdown. Senior Dennis Merritt led the team in rushing with 37 yards on five attempts.

EWU returns to action next Saturday for its home opener against Lindenwood at Roos Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.