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Never overlook an opponent.
That was the task facing Eastern Washington this week as they hosted NAIA school Western Montana on Saturday night. Nestled between last weekend’s season-opening victory against Sam Houston State and next weekend’s match-up with Washington in Seattle, it would have been easy for the Eagles to overlook the Bulldogs.
Would have been.
But, easy isn’t the way to go when Beau Baldwin is coaching. This EWU team doesn’t take the easy way. Oh, sure, they can make things look easy as they did tonight in their 41-9 win over NAIA-level Montana Western. What this game would be is solid preparation for next week’s showdown with FBS/Pac-12 stalwart Washington.
Efficient night for Eagle quarterback Vernon Adams. Playing for most of the game, Adams went 27-30, 360 yards, 5 touchdowns. Backup quarterback, Jordan West, played in mop-up duty going 5-9, 48 yards. Senior running back Mario Brown had a career day with 9 rushes, 108 yards. It was his top output since December 27, 2010 when he rushed for 104 yards on 26 carries against Villanova.
Montana Western, although clearly outmatched, played disciplined football. Coach Beau Baldwin said, “I give Montana Western a lot of credit. I thought they played hard and they tackled well. They ripped at the ball. I thought they came in and competed. Like I expected them to.”
A win is a win. A win going into next week’s big match-up Washington makes this next week a little more palatable. But, only slightly. Describing tonight’s game, Coach Baldwin had one word: sloppy. “We were sloppy. We’re a long way away, but I know it’s within this group to get there. It’s just going to take a disciplined week.”
Sloppiness aside, the game allowed Coach Baldwin and his staff to give playing time to some other players. One player, in particular, was playing in a different position tonight. Sophomore Miquiyah Zamora normally lines up as a weak-side linebacker. Tonight, he was in the Ronnie Hamlin role on the inside. Zamora, “A lot of credit to the d-line tonight. They’re doing their job up front and creating big gaps. It’s easy for us linebackers to fit in. Coach Fetter and Ronnie spent a lot of time coaching and helping us (young bucks) out. We just go out there and play.”
“Miquiyah has a taken a huge step in terms of his leadership. He prepares. He’s studying film. He understands how to play all three linebacker positions. He went in tonight at SAM (Hamlin’s position). It takes a mental toughness – he’s one of those guys who’s made the biggest strides from year one.”
Plenty to work on/build on for the Eastern Washington Eagles tonight. They’ll have all they can handle next week in Seattle at Husky Stadium. They didn’t overlook the Bulldogs tonight. That’s a good mindset to have heading into next week’s showdown.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE GAME
— EWU Athletics (@EWUAthletics) August 31, 2014