The 3-1 EWU football team enjoyed another blowout game against Southern Utah Saturday, defeating the Thunderbirds 49-14. Despite dropping their season opener to Arizona State last month, the EWU football team has bounced back in the last few weeks, also defeating Montana Tech 50-6 and Western Oregon 55-20.
Quarterback Josh Blankenship threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns against the Thunderbirds. Senior Jovan Griffith had a great game on the ground, with 134 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Eastern out-gained Southern Utah in total offense 568-237 and led 21-0 at halftime. The Thunderbirds finally scored on their first possession in the second half, but Eastern bounced back and racked up 28 points in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore defensive lineman Emery Meeks led the Eagles with nine tackles and Junior Brandon Myers had six tackles and two sacks.
The 55-20 win over Western Oregon two weeks ago was bittersweet for the Eagles as they had a somewhat bleak first half. Eastern received a 15-yard penalty in the first minutes of the game for roughing the kicker and then fumbled on their first possession. The Eagles eventually settled down and led 20-10 going into the half. Eastern sprang to life in the second half with 338 in total offense and scored five touchdowns.
Blankenship had a record-breaking night with an impressive 426 yards, five touchdowns and 35 completions against the Wolves. Blankenship hit a number of different receivers, including Junior Kyler Randall, who caught 10 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Running back Eric Kimble also had a touchdown, six receptions and 95 yards. Freshman tight end Tim Calhoun had six catches, 66 yards and two touchdowns, bringing his season total for TDs to 3.
Eastern’s defense had their share of the glory, with a sack by Freshman Randy Meade, 11 tackles by linebacker Jessy Hanson and another 10 by Freshman Joey Cwik.
The previous weekend was much of the same for the Eagles as Blankenship threw for 226 yards and led Eastern to the 50-6 spanking over Montana Tech Sept. 7.
Blankenship had five touchdowns in the non-conference game, completing 14 of 20. Randall was the recipient of six passes from Blankenship for 112 yards and three touchdowns. Griffith and wide receiver Joe Pierce also caught touchdown passes. Randall had 83 yards on the ground and Griffith rushed for 98 yards on 11 carries. Eastern racked up 595 in total offense against Montana Tech, averaging almost 10 yards per offensive play.
The Eagle defense allowed Tech only one touchdown that came with less than 10 minutes left to play, when Eastern already had a commanding 43 to nothing lead. Cwik led the team in tackles with 10, bringing his season total to 19 after only two games.
The first game of the season against ASU looked promising for the Eagles as they recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff. But playing in front of a crowd of almost 40,000 at Sun Devil Stadium and bearing 100-degree heat took its toll on the Eagles as Arizona State scored four touchdowns in the first 24 minutes of the game.
Despite gaining only half of ASU’s total offense, Coach Paul Wulff said he was proud of the Eagles defense and the improvements they made in the second half of the game.
Eastern held ASU scoreless in the third quarter and gained 101 yards on offense. Unfortunately, the Eagle’s momentum stopped there and Arizona State scored 10 more points in the fourth quarter, defeating Eastern 38-2.
The Eagles are off this weekend, but will host their first conference game against Idaho State on Oct. 5.