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Sam Houston State @ #2 Eastern Washington, 2012

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There's just one game standing in their way from knowing the national championship matchup. That's No. 2 seed Eagles versus the unseeded Bearkats in today's semifinal clash at Roos Field in Cheney, Washington. Or also known as "The Inferno" because of the red turf.

The winner faces North Dakota State in Frisco Saturday Jan. 5 after the Bison defeated Georgia Southern 23-20 last night in Fargo.

Offensively, Eastern Washington will look to run the ball, but the bulk of their attack comes from quarterback Kyle Padron, who has excelled the past few games with passing performances of 381, 327 and 358 yards, with eight combined touchdowns, including a record setting six touchdowns against Illinois State in last week's quarterfinal game.

Padron has a pair of wideouts in Brandon Kaufman and Greg Herd that get the bulk of the receptions for the Eagles.

After a 458-yard, 34-point performance against Montana State in the quarterfinals, the Kats offense hopes to pick up where it left off against a defense that is ranked just 79th in total defense (allowing 394.08 yards per game). The Eagles let Illinois State gain 520 yards and 35 points in the quarterfinals.

Besides running the ball (averaging 178.5 rushing yards in playoff victories over other Big Sky members Cal Poly and Montana State), where Sam Houston has shined has been in its ability to keep from turning the ball over. The Bearkats have not turned over the ball in any of their playoff games so far.

Having played in nine games away from SHSU's home stadium of Bowers Stadium this year, including eight as true road games, the Bearkats will be playing far from home again today. But as these games have shown, they should not be that tough to handle the road.

In last week's quarterfinal matchup with #3 seed Montana State, the Kats dealt with the hostile crowd in Bozeman and Cheney should not be as tough with less seating capacity.

The Bearkats, who normally play in a much warmer climate, will have to battle the elements as temperatures are the lower 30s with a chance of snow yet today. This was a similar weather situation in Bozeman last week but did not have too much trouble in it.

I think this game will be an offensive track meet. Turnovers and the defenses holding the opposing team to field goal attempts will be the key in the game.

I think as was seen in EWU's win over Montana State earlier this season that the Eagles are the best team out of the Big Sky but having played two prior BSC team's might be a plus for the Kats.

But the Eagles, who won the 2010 national championship, I feel will be able to handle the Kats in this one but likely will come down to the last minutes in a closely contested game.

I can't wait to see how this one plays out. Kickoff is about 10 minutes away and can't wait for this one to get going.

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  1. rwallace's Avatar
    This could turn into the greatest comeback in EWU playoff history or the biggest blowout of the Eagles in the Inferno.
  2. Kent's Avatar
    The first step towards a come back for the Eagles is to stop SHSU as the Bearkats get the opening kickoff to start the 2nd half.
  3. Kent's Avatar
    SHSU gets a good return to start the 2nd half out to the 25.
  4. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 from the 25. Flanders gets 6 up the middle.

    2nd & 4 from the 31. Flanders gets 1 up the middle.

    3rd & 3 from the SHSU 32. False start on SHSU.

    3rd & 8 from the 27. Williams on the catch but is a yard short.

    Good start for EWU. EWU gets the punt at their own 20.
  5. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 from the EWU 21. Kaufman can't come up with a diving catch.

    2nd & 10 from the EWU 21. Adams with a great play to scramble and pass to Kaufman for the first down on a gain of 20.
  6. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the EWU 44. Incomplete pass from Adams.

    2nd & 10 at the EWU 44. Adams on the draw play but gets just 1.

    3rd & 8 from the EWU 45. Kaufman with another catch but is a little short of the first down on a gain of 7.
  7. Kent's Avatar
    The Eagles go for it with a big 16 yard run by Forte.
  8. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 from the SHSU 32. Adams hits Herd, who was wide open in the end zone for the first Eagle score.

    PAT is good.

    SHSU 35 EWU 7 with 10:29 left in the 3rd qtr.

    Come back starting? The EWU defense needs to do what they did last time and get a three and out.
  9. Kent's Avatar
    The EWU kickoff is out of the end zone for a touchback. SHSU will have it at their own 25.
  10. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the SHSU 25. Flanders is stopped right at the line of scrimmage.

    2nd & 10 at the SHSU 25. Melvis Pride with the option pitch for 10.
  11. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the SHSU 35. Flanders gets 9 on the play.

    2nd & 1 at the SHSU 34. Flanders up the middle for 2 and a first down.
  12. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the SHSU 46. Flanders caught in the backfield for a 5 yard loss.

    2nd & 15 at the SHSU 41. Pride with the catch and a nice 12 yard run afterwards.

    3rd & 3 at the EWU 47. Flanders up the middle for the first down.
  13. Kent's Avatar
    K. Hill with a huge gain to the outside but there is a flag on the play. Holding on SHSU.

    1st & 18 from midfield. Sincere keeps it on the Wildkat for 8.

    2nd & 10 from the EWU 42. K. Hill loses one after the option pitch from Sincere.

    3rd & 11 from the EWU 43. Huge stop needed for EWU.

    Bell is sacked and fumbles the ball but one of the SHSU linemen recovers. There is also a holding call and EWU will decline to set up the SHSU punt.
  14. rwallace's Avatar
    Maybe the Eagles got a memo at the half informing them that a five TD deficit was enough to start a comeback
  15. Kent's Avatar
    4th & 31 from the SHSU 37. The SHSU punt is fair catugh at the EWU 31 but there is another flag.

    The foul is on SHSU for fair catch interference so EWU will move it up 15 yards.

    EWU is a quick strike offense so lets don't write off the Eagles just yet.
  16. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the EWU 46. Incomplete pass but there is a pass interference call on SHSU to move it up 15.
  17. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the SHSU 35. Adams is sacked by LB Jesse Beauchamp. 8 yard loss.

    2nd & 18 at the SHSU 43. 13 yard pass play but there is a flag on the play. Illegal hands to the face 15 yard call to move the ball further down for the Eagles.
  18. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the SHSU 28. Draw play to Forte for 12 but there is a flag. Clipping call on EWU to move EWU back 15.
  19. rwallace's Avatar
    Those penalty flags must be burning a hole in the ref's pockets because they are flying out like crazy now
  20. rwallace's Avatar
    "Houston, we have a problem..."
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