EWU Earns #3 Seed in FCS Playoffs - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

EWU Earns #3 Seed in FCS Playoffs

Posted: Updated:

By EWU Athletics

Perhaps the best part of EWU's thrilling come-from-behind victory over Portland State was the rest that awaits them.

The Eagles, who capped a perfect 8-0 Big Sky Conference season with a 42-41 win over the Vikings on Saturday (Nov. 22), received a first-round bye and will host a game on Dec. 7 at 1 p.m. Pacific time at Roos Field in the second round of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.

Pairings were announced Sunday morning, and the Eagles will face the winner of the South Dakota State at Northern Arizona game at 5 p.m. Pacific time on Nov. 30. The Jackrabbits are 8-4 on the season while the Lumberjacks are 9-2 after finishing second behind the Eagles in the Big Sky standings.

Eastern received the No. 3 seed, putting it in the same bracket as No. 2 Eastern Illinois. Seeds 1-8 are guaranteed home games through to the semifinals provided they are the higher-seeded team in their match-up. Montana received the No. 8 seed and is in the opposite side the bracket with top-seeded and two-time defending champion North Dakota State. Southern Utah also made the bracket from the Big Sky, while Montana State was left off after losing its last three games of the season.

Tickets for Eastern's Dec. 7 game go on sale at 10 a.m. on Monday (Nov. 25). The championship game is Jan. 4 in Frisco, Texas. All games in the first two rounds will be broadcast via ESPN3.

"We had a good idea – a No. 3 seed is what everybody was saying and it's what we kind of expected," said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. "It's perfect. We know we are going to get that first one at home, and we'll have to go out and earn a victory. It's exciting for our team, and exciting to have that first-round bye. From a physical and mental standpoint, it's a long road to get to this point."

Eastern has had seven playoff berths in a nine-year span (2004-13), ranking the Eagles as one of only four schools among 122 in FCS to accomplish that feat. The others are Montana, New Hampshire and Appalachian State. New Hampshire, North Dakota State and Appalachian State join the Eagles as the only teams to have qualified in four of the last five years.

Best of all, the Eagles get a first-round bye and are hosting games, just like they did last season when they advanced to the semifinals and in 2010 when the Eagles won the NCAA Division I title. Getting players healthy is the greatest benefit of having Thankgsiving weekend off.

"We could feel it after the game, and even in the last few weeks," said Baldwin. "But you have to keep grinding and keep going. We knew if we were fortunate enough to receive the bye over Thanksgiving it would come a good time for us. We need to let some guys to heal physically, but also mentally to allow our players to rest and regroup. We'll get some work in before they go for Thanksgiving, then we'll hit it hard next week when we know exactly who we play."

Eastern has never played SDSU, but is 19-10 overall against NAU. Because of the expansion of the league in 2012, the Eagles haven't played NAU since 2011 when EWU won in Flagstaff, Ariz., 38-26.

Interestingly, Eastern's last-gasp win over PSU – EWU drove 74 yards in just 29 seconds for a game-winning TD with 31 seconds to play, denied NAU a share of the league title with Eastern. The Lumberjacks finished 7-1 in the Big Sky this year.

"We thought there was a chance us and NAU could meet up somewhere quickly," said Baldwin. "It's a credit to all the Big Sky schools who were included – NAU, Montana and Southern Utah – for representing the league really well. It's fun having four teams in this bracket."

  • College SportsCollegeMore>>

  • Rosen, Cougars Too Much for Gonzaga

    Rosen, Cougars Too Much for Gonzaga

    The Washington State University baseball team defeated Gonzaga 5-1 in a local non-conference matchup at the Patterson Baseball Complex on Tuesday, April 15.>>
    The Washington State University baseball team defeated Gonzaga 5-1 in a local non-conference matchup at the Patterson Baseball Complex on Tuesday, April 15.>>
  • Former Zag Star, Indiana Fever's Haiden Palmer in Studio

    Former Zag Star, Indiana Fever's Haiden Palmer in Studio

    Former Gonzaga star guard and 29th overall pick in the 2014 Women's National Basketball League draft, Haiden Palmer, joined SWX's Michelle Dapper in studio on Tuesday, April 15. >>
    Former Gonzaga star guard and 29th overall pick in the 2014 Women's National Basketball League draft, Haiden Palmer, joined SWX's Michelle Dapper in studio on Tuesday, April 15. >>
  • WSU Basketball Roster Changes

    WSU Basketball Roster Changes

    James Hunter and Royce Woolridge have chosen to transfer and have been granted their releases from the Washington State University men’s basketball program; while signee Jermaine Morgan has been released from his National Letter of Intent (NLI) and will not enroll at WSU this fall, head coach Ernie Kent announced Tuesday.>>
    James Hunter and Royce Woolridge have chosen to transfer and have been granted their releases from the Washington State University men’s basketball program; while signee Jermaine Morgan has been released from his National Letter of Intent (NLI) and will not enroll at WSU this fall, head coach Ernie Kent announced Tuesday.>>
  • Extra PointsExtra PointsMore>>

  • Behar, Local Drivers Prep for 2014 Season at SCR

    Behar, Local Drivers Prep for 2014 Season at SCR

    Nicole Behar ran hot laps with her Super Late Model team and other local teams at the Spokane County Raceway's Oval Track in preparation of the Yakima Apple Cup.Local companies and track supporters came to visit with the drivers and their teams and take a facilities tour of the improvements made to SCR.>>
    Nicole Behar ran hot laps with her Super Late Model team and other local teams at the Spokane County Raceway's Oval Track in preparation of the Yakima Apple Cup.Local companies and track supporters came to visit with the drivers and their teams and take a facilities tour of the improvements made to SCR.>>
  • R.B.I. Baseball Makes a Comeback

    R.B.I. Baseball Makes a Comeback

    For those who remember, or even those who were raised playing older video game systems, one of the Meccas of video gamedom has made a resurgence. R.B.I. Baseball is back! >>
    For those who remember, or even those who were raised playing older video game systems, one of the Meccas of video gamedom has made a resurgence. R.B.I. Baseball is back! >>
  • Shadle Park's Brett Rypien Commits to Boise State

    Shadle Park's Brett Rypien Commits to Boise State

    Shadle Park quarterback Brett Rypien (Class of 2015) has committed to play football at Boise State University.Rypien is the Greater Spokane League's all-time leader in passing yards, total yards, and touchdowns and still has his senior season to play after leading the Highlanders deep into the playoffs last year.More coming...

    >>

    Shadle Park quarterback Brett Rypien (Class of 2015) has committed to play football at Boise State University.Rypien is the Greater Spokane League's all-time leader in passing yards, total yards, and touchdowns and still has his senior season to play after leading the Highlanders deep into the playoffs last year.More coming...

    >>
  • Eastern WashingtonEastern WashingtonMore>>

  • Eagles Complete First Spring Scrimmage

    Eagles Complete First Spring Scrimmage

    Eastern Washington University quarterbacks combined for four touchdown passes to highlight the first football scrimmage of spring practice for the Eagles Saturday morning, April 12, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.>>
    Eastern Washington University quarterbacks combined for four touchdown passes to highlight the first football scrimmage of spring practice for the Eagles Saturday morning, April 12, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.>>
  • EWU to Scrimmage on Roos Field Before 43rd Annual Pelluer Invitational

    EWU to Scrimmage on Roos Field Before 43rd Annual Pelluer Invitational

    At some Eastern Washington University football scrimmages, a veritable track meet tends to break out. This Saturday it will, literally, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. As a precursor to the 43rd Annual Pelluer Invitational Track and Field Meet, the Eagle football team will use the North end of “The Inferno” to practice and scrimmage as the Eagles conclude their first full week of spring practices.>>
    At some Eastern Washington University football scrimmages, a veritable track meet tends to break out. This Saturday it will, literally, at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. As a precursor to the 43rd Annual Pelluer Invitational Track and Field Meet, the Eagle football team will use the North end of “The Inferno” to practice and scrimmage as the Eagles conclude their first full week of spring practices.>>
  • EWU Football Kicks Off Spring Practices

    EWU Football Kicks Off Spring Practices

    The Eastern Washington football team kicked off its spring practice campaign at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. on Friday, April 4.>>
    The Eastern Washington football team kicked off its spring practice campaign at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. on Friday, April 4.>>