Eagles Head Into Bye Week Ranked 10th

Individual honors go to Brandon Kaufman and Jake Miller after near-miss versus Washington State

REMINDER: EWU Coaches Show TONIGHT at Northern Quest Casino and Resort featuring Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin, as well as EWU offensive tackle Will Post and offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Aaron Best. The event takes place at the “Q” Restaurant and starts at 5:30 pm for video highlights. The radio show, live on 700-AM ESPN, starts at 6 pm. It is also available at http://www.700espn.com or http://www.tunein.com/, and via iPhone App (search for “Spokane Radio” and download app; an app is also available for tunein radio) . . . more information is available at http://www.goeags.com/sports/m-footbl/2012-13/Releases/12atAug29CoachesShows

Also, Monday Night Football tonight will feature former Eagle Taiwan Jones returning kickoffs for the Oakland Raiders when they face San Diego at 7:15 p.m. Pacific time on ESPN.

It’s an early bye, and the 10th-ranked Eastern Washington University football team knows it still has some work to do before it starts Big Sky Conference play on Sept. 22. But there is one trait Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin enjoys seeing in his team again.

“I know we have a ballclub that no matter what the situation, we aren’t going to quit,” said Baldwin, whose team will practice three times this week before giving the players three days off. “We are going to fight to be there in the end. Not just because of the result of the Washington State game, but I’ve seen these players in winter workouts, spring practice and fall camp. They are going to go hard until that last second goes off the clock, and there it was again.”

For the second-straight year, a pass in the end zone in the final seconds against a Pac-12 Conference opponent didn’t result in an Eagle touchdown, and the Eagles fell to Washington State 24-20 last Saturday (Sept. 8) at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash.

“It’s tough,” said quarterback Kyle Padron, who had 379 yards passing and two touchdowns in the loss. “We expected to win this game and we fell short. But it’s not going to make our break our season. We’ve got a bye week and then it’s into conference play, so we are just looking forward to that now.”

A year ago, in a 30-27 loss to Washington in Seattle, a similar pass intended for Kaufman was intercepted by the Huskies with 29 ticks left on the clock.

“It hurts, but that’s what makes us stronger for the season,” said cornerback T.J. Lee III, who had six tackles and interception. “We know we are just going to keep pushing and believing in each other to makes things happen this year.

 “We did what we could,” he added. “We didn’t execute the way we wanted to on offense or defense, but the game is what it is and now all we have to move on to the next game.”

Despite the loss, the Eagles fell just one spot in this week’s Sports Network NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Top 25 poll. In the coaches poll, the Eagles retained its ranking of 11th.

Individually, junior wide receiver Brandon Kaufman and sophomore punter Jake Miller received honorable mention Performer of the Week accolades in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision by College Football Performances Awards (www.collegefootballperformance.com).

For the second time in as many games this season – and for the 10th time in his career – Kaufman went over 100 yards in receiving against Washington State. He finished with five catches for 142 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kaufman, who is from Denver, Colo., and is a 2009 graduate of Heritage HS, now has 138 career catches (14th in school history) for 2,171 yards (11th) and 19 touchdowns (ninth).

A 12-play, 99 yard drive pulled Eastern to within three with 2:17 to play on the second of two Kyle Padron to Kaufman touchdown passes on the day. Eastern got the ball back with 1:29 left and converted a pair of fourth-down conversions, but Padron, who finished with 379 yards passing, had his final desperation pass batted away in the end zone.

Earlier in the game, Padron’s 93-yard TD to Kaufman in the first quarter knotted the score at seven, and it equaled the fourth-longest pass play in school history. Eastern out-gained WSU in total offense 469-355.

Miller averaged 46.3 yards on seven punts, including a school-record 74-yard punt on his first effort of the day against the Cougars. He broke the previous record of 71 yards set in 2006 by Ryan Donckers. His 44.4 average on 52 career punts currently ranks as the school record, placing him ahead of the 42.3 average of Jesse Nicassio (2002-03). Miller, who transferred from WSU and graduated in 2010 from Spokane’s Central Valley High School, averaged 44.3 yards a year ago and thus far has a 44.7 average on 13 boots.

Eastern opened with a 20-3 victory over Idaho Aug. 30, and next plays at Weber State in its league opener on Sept. 22 and its home opener a week later versus rival Montana.



The Sports Network (Sept. 10): 1. North Dakota State; 3. Montana State; 10. Eastern Washington; 14. Montana.

FCS Coaches Poll (Sept. 10): 1. North Dakota State; 3. Montana State; 12. Eastern Washington; 12. Montana.


EWU in the 2012 Sports Network Poll

Sept 10: 10th (North Dakota State #1, MSU #3, Montana #14). Sept. 3: 9th (Sam Houston State #1, MSU #4, UM #12). Preseason: 12th (SHSU #1, MSU #4, UM #11).

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