Nationally-ranked teams always put on a show to remember
It's a long-awaited home opener for the Eastern Washington University football team, but one with plenty on the line.
Meeting for the 11th time in 17 years with both teams nationally-ranked, the No. 7 Eagles host the 21st-ranked Montana Grizzlies Saturday in a game televised live regionally on Root Sports. Kickoff at Roos Field is 4:15 p.m. in EWU's latest home start since 1981.
The radio broadcast of this week's game, featuring Larry Weir, Paul Sorensen and Keith Osso, starts 1 1/2 hours prior to kickoff with the Eagle Tailgate Show. It may be heard on 700-AM ESPN, via the web at www.700espn.com and via iPhone application (search for “700 ESPN” and download the free app). The broadcast is also available via www.tunein.com and tunein's mobile phone app.
The Eagles, ranked seventh in this week's Sports Network NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Top 25 poll, are 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big Sky Conference after last week's 32-26 escape at Weber State. Eastern scored seven times on offense, but needed a fumble recovery after a sack with 34 seconds to play to preserve the victory.
“More than anything, we are going to keep working on our details and the things we need to improve as a team,” Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin said after the narrow win over the winless Wildcats. “We are going to learn from this game very quickly, then we have to move on. The Montana game is a pretty big one for us.”
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, suffered a rare home loss and fell to Northern Arizona 41-31. The Lumberjacks scored 34 unanswered points to drop the Grizzlies to 2-2 overall and 0-1 in the Big Sky Conference. As a result, the Grizzlies fell from 14th to 21st in the Sports Network poll, while NAU jumped into the rankings at 22nd.
Collectively, the two teams have won a trio of NCAA Division I football titles, and have made 31 total appearances in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. Eastern won the national title in 2010, and have been to the playoffs in 1985, 1992, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010. The Grizzlies, however, have been to the playoffs a FCS record 23 times, with national titles in 1995 and 2001.