Eagles Finish Eighth Nationally in Poll

Dec. 19, 2007

-- The annual Eastern Washington University Football Awards Banquet will take place Jan. 12 at 5 p.m. at the Pence Union Building Multipurpose Building on the EWU campus in Cheney, Wash. Cost is $30 and tickets must be purchased in advance by calling 509-359-2463. The deadline is Jan. 10. The banquet will honor the Eagles for their 9-4 season and advancement to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.

-- A total of 139 donors have contributed $37,975 thus far as part the Roger Salquist Challenge that is raising funds for the EWU Football program. Salquist, a friend and generous contributor to EWU, made an initial contribution of $10,000 and will match all additional cash gifts up to a total of $50,000. The deadline for donations is Dec. 31 and can be made online at: http://goeags.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/ewas-salquist.html

An impressive first-round victory in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs over second-seeded McNeese State helped Eastern Washington University finish the 2007 season ranked eighth in the final Sports Network FCS Top-25 poll. In all, Eastern was ranked for eight weeks in the poll of sportswriters, broadcasters and sports information directors.

The Eagles had ended the regular season ranked 14th, but jumped eight spots after their playoff run that included a convincing 44-15 win over the previously undefeated Cowboys. Eastern lost by just three points, 38-35, in the quarterfinals to eventual FCS champion Appalachian State. The Mountaineers went on to crush Richmond 55-35 in the semifinals and Delaware 49-21 in the championship game to win an unprecedented third-straight title.

Appalachian State (13-2), which defeated Michigan 34-32 to open the season, started and finished the 2007 season as the top-ranked FCS team. Delaware (11-4) finished second, followed by Southern Illinois (12-2), Northern Iowa (12-1), Richmond (11-3), Wofford (9-4), Massachusetts (10-3) and Eastern (9-4). Big Sky Conference rival Montana (11-1), which lost to Wofford 23-22 in the opening round, finished the season ranked 10th.

To end the regular season, Eastern had moved up one more spot to what was then a season-high 14th. In the three previous weeks, Eastern followed victories with national rankings -- 24th after defeating Sacramento State 38-30, 20th after edging Northern Colorado 17-7 and 15th after routing Northern Arizona 52-24. Eastern ended the regular season with a 38-16 win over Weber State.

Before its late-season run of four-straight weeks in the rankings, the previous two times EWU was ranked it suffered defeats. A 35-13 victory over 11th-ranked Montana State on Oct. 13 put the Eagles back into The Sports Network rankings at No. 22. But a 42-7 loss to Brigham Young on Oct. 20 knocked the Eagles back out of the rankings.

Before that, Eastern's convincing 34-7 victory over Idaho State on Sept. 22 helped Eastern move up four spots to 21st, but the Eagles dropped out after losing to Portland State 28-21 on Sept. 29. When EWU was ranked 25th on Sept. 17, the Eagles earned their first national ranking since 2005 in the TSN poll. Eastern hadn't been nationally ranked since it finished the 2005 season 13th in the TSN poll.

In the Sagarin computer ratings released after EWU's win at Idaho State, Eastern was No. 6 among FCS schools to rank three spots ahead of No. 9 Montana. Following the PSU loss, Eastern fell to 19th in the Sagarin ratings and eventually finished its season ranked 18th (as of Dec. 8).

Here is a listing of EWU's 2007 opponents in the 2007 FCS rankings (five polls are distributed nationally on a weekly basis), in addition to the Sagarin computer ratings:

The Sports Network (12/18): 1. Appalachian State; 8. Eastern Washington; 10. Montana; 11. McNeese State; 45. Northern Arizona.

FCS Coaches (12/18): 1. Appalachian State; 8. Eastern Washington; 11. McNeese State; 12. Montana; 34. Montana State.

AGS/anygivensaturday.com (12/17): 1. Appalachian State; 8. Eastern Washington; 11. Montana; 12. McNeese State.

Football Gazette Top 40 Rankings (updated on 12/9): 1. North Dakota State; 2. Appalachian State; 5. Eastern Washington; 11. Montana; 15. McNeese State; 29. Northern Arizona.

SME Network Top 25 (12/17): 1. Appalachian State; 9. Eastern Washington; 10. Montana; 11. McNeese State; 32. Montana State.

Sagarin Computer Ratings Among FCS Schools (through Dec. 8; overall rank including FBS schools): 1. Northern Iowa (59th overall); 2. Appalachian State (60th overall); 11. McNeese State (96th overall); 14. Montana (101st overall); 18. Eastern Washington (112th overall); 31. UC Davis; 37. Northern Arizona; 55. Montana State; 57. Weber State; 66. Sacramento State; 68. Portland State; 81. Idaho State; 98. Northern Colorado. Also, 22. (overall) Brigham Young.

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