Second half unraveling spells another EWU road loss

By Drew Lawson, Sports Editor

When senior running back Tamarick Pierce ran in a 5-yard touchdown to give the EWU football team a 14-3 lead over the Montana Grizzlies with 6:29 left in the second quarter, it looked like the Eagles might be on their way to their first road win of the season.

Instead, EWU (2-2, 3-5) was outscored 31-3 in the ensuing 24 minutes en route to a 34-17 loss to UM (3-1, 6-2) in Missoula. EWU dropped to 0-5 on the road in 2019.

The EWU offense struggled in the second half. The Eagles scored just three points while going three-and-out four times. EWU dropped a surefire touchdown on 4th down during their final drive.

EWU sophomore wide receiver Andrew Boston said the team is still searching for offensive consistency.

“Until we find that chemistry within the receivers, quarterback, running game and (offensive) line, we know that we’re vulnerable to getting stopped like this,” Boston said.

Boston had five receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown. Junior wide receiver Talolo Limu-Jones added four receptions for 97 yards.

Richard N. Clark IV for The Easterner
Richard N. Clark IV for The Easterner

Junior quarterback Eric Barriere was 10-16 passing for 194 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but just 12-25 with 70 yards in the second half. However, the incompletions were not all Barriere’s fault, as EWU wide receivers dropped at least five passes.

UM was led by sophomore running back Marcus Knight, who had 131 yards and three touchdowns rushing and three receptions for 65 yards. Junior Cam Humphery got the start at quarterback for the Griz with star Dalton Sneed out with a leg injury. Humphery was 20-29 with 176 yards and one touchdown.

The loss practically guaranteed that EWU will miss the 2019 FCS playoffs, one year after making the FCS National Championship. EWU head coach Aaron Best said the team isn’t thinking about that fact right now.

“I haven’t mentioned the p-word at all this year,” Best said. “Because we’ve been accustomed to being in those situations more often than not, it’s almost deemed a failure if and when you’re teeter-tottering that non-playoff … diving board.”

Best added that the team doesn’t play to make the playoffs, but to have fun and create relationships.

Senior safety Dehonta Hayes, who had 12 total tackles, said he’s not thinking about EWU missing the playoffs either.

“I know what the (playoff) outcome could possibly be based off losses, but if I park too much on that, that’ll affect the way I play,” Hayes said.

Boston said he wants the pain of all the losses to change the team.

“At the end of the day, it sucks to lose a game like this,” Boston said. “But … life goes on. I’m going to come back next week better than I was this week.”

EWU returns to Roos Field next week to take on the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.