Cal Poly presents problems on both sides of ball for Eastern
No. 3 Eastern Washington Univ. at Cal Poly, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, 12:40 p.m. Alex G. Spanos Stadium (11,075), San Luis Obispo, Calif. TV: Televised live regionally by ROOT Sports & DirectTV Audience Network 101. Talent: Tom Glasgow (play by play), Jason Stiles (analyst), Jen Mueller (sideline). Webcast: None. Radio: 700-AM ESPN in Spokane with Washington Trust Bank Tailgate Show, starting 1 1/2 hours prior to kickoff. Internet Radio: www.700espn.com or www.tunein.com. Radio iPhone App: Search for “700 ESPN” and download app. An app is also available for tunein radio. Live Stats: http://livestats.prestosports.com/calpoly. Watch Parties: Consult EWU social media outlets for details the Friday before games. Those who may carry EWU games include “Epic” at Northern Quest Casino and Resort in Airway Heights, the Swinging Doors in North Spokane and at Eagles Pub in Cheney.
If one listens to Eastern Washington head football coach Beau Baldwin’s analysis of the challenge that awaits his team this Saturday afternoon at Alex Spanos Stadium in San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly might replace their Mustang mascot with the mythical multi-headed monster, known as the Hydra.
From both an offensive and defensive standpoint the Eagles will have their hands full for this next-to-last Big Sky Conference regular season game that kicks off at 12:40 pm. and can be viewed regionally on ROOT Sports.
“They are the real deal,” Baldwin said during Monday night’s Coaches Show when describing the Mustangs (4-2 Big Sky, 5-5 overall). What concerns Baldwin is CP’s multi-faceted option running game that opens up the passing game.
And when Eastern’s high-powered offense – which has been scoring at an average of slightly over 50 points a game the past three weeks – takes the field, they will face a defense that also concerns Baldwin.
“They play incredibly fast on defense because they know exactly what their assignment is and know how to get there and what to do,” he said.
Eastern (6-0 Big Sky, 8-2 overall), comes off a 54-29 thrashing of Montana State last Saturday at Roos Field in a game that gave the Eagles the inside edge at claiming the regular season conference championship. Eastern can wrap-up at least a share of their seventh Big Sky Conference title in school history with a win this week.
“It will most likely be our toughest test offensively against what they do defensively,” Baldwin said.
There was no lack of offense – and little defense – the last time the Eagles met Cal Poly down south. Eastern won a wild three-overtime contest 53-51 in 2011.
“We were talking defensive but obviously we know what problems they present offensively as well,” Baldwin said. “They’re leading the nation in rushing, they just came off a game where they rushed for 400-something.”
The Mustangs come off a 42-7 hammering of Sacramento State at home in which quarterback Chris Brown threw four touchdown passes while fullback Akaninyene Umoh and slotback Kristaan Ivory both rushed for over 100 yards.
The run helps disguise a potent passing attack, Baldwin said. “If they get that going you have to be discipline, discipline, discipline just with stopping the option, but not let someone run free.”
Eastern won the 2012 game in Cheney 34-17 where one of the key plays came when cornerback TJ Lee III stopped Mustangs’ quarterback Andre Broadous on a fourth-and-goal from the 1. Quarterback Vernon Adams, then a freshman, threw and ran for 356 yards.
Paul Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.