Cheney Free Press -

By PAUL DELANEY
Staff Reporter 

It's 'Homecoming' in more ways than one for EWU-Idaho

Vandals visits Cheney for first time since 1995 season

 

Last updated 10/25/2018 at 5:41pm



With a week’s rest behind them, Eastern Washington University’s football team returns to Roos Field for the first time in three weeks for the 92nd annual Homecoming game.

Kickoff is set for Saturday at 12:05 p.m. for the game that is sold out, even with the addition of 600 additional bleacher seats. This will be the 29th consecutive sellout at Roos Field.

But the opponents, the University of Idaho, have been away from Cheney for an even longer period of time, last playing in what was then Woodward Field in 1994 when the Vandals were members of the Big Sky Conference.

“This will be a first for myself, taking on Idaho in a Big Sky game and facing them in Cheney,” Eastern head coach Aaron Best, who is in his 22nd year as a player or coach for the Eagles, said. “This will be fun, especially when you talk about proximity, fan bases and crossing paths in recruiting.”

The Vandals re-joined the Big Sky in football in 2018, and EWU will play them in the first meeting between the two schools since 2012 when Eastern won in Moscow 20-3. The last time the former league rivals met in a Big Sky game was in 1995 when the Vandals prevailed 37-10 and the last time they met in Cheney was 1994 with Idaho going home with a 40-10 victory.

Eastern (3-1 Big Sky, 5-2 overall) seeks to get back to the win column following an Oct. 13 loss, 14-6 at Weber State. Despite the loss, Eastern, ranked either No. 4 or No. 5, moved up in Football Championship Subdivision polls after teams ahead of them lost during the Eagles’ bye week.

The Eagles have played their last two games without All-American quarterback Gage Gubrud who has been sidelined by a lower leg injury. The Eagles split those two games that featured a 55-17 win over Southern Utah in their last Roos Field game. Gubrud reportedly was taking snaps this week and could return.

The Vandals (2-3, 3-4) come off a 31-12 win over Southern Utah last Saturday in the Kibbie Dome. On the Idaho team is junior linebacker and former Cheney High standout Ty Graham.

“It will be interesting to see how this unfolds in the next few years, but we hope it becomes a natural rivalry again,” Best said. “This in the infancy of the new version of the Eastern-Idaho rivalry, and hopefully is blossoms into a very healthy and passionate game.”

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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