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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. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 14 from the SHSU 33. Screen pass is broke up.

    2nd & 14 from the SHSU 33. Kaufman with a catch across the middle for 11.

    3rd & 3 from the SHSU 22. Kaufman into the end zone for the touchdown. We have a ball game again.

    PAT is good.

    SHSU 35 EWU 14 with 2:02 left in the 3rd qtr.
  2. rwallace's Avatar
    I remember the CSN cover pic of EWU earlier this year coining the "Finding a Way" slogan for the Eagles... interesting watching it over and over and now in the Semis
  3. Kent's Avatar
    Onside kick by the Eagle and they recover. We do indeed have a ball game again.

    EWU will have it their own 46.
  4. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the EWU 46. Adams is sacked for a four yard loss.

    2nd & 14 at the 42. Deep ball for Kaufman. Incomplete but there is a flag. Pass interference on the Bearkats.
  5. rwallace's Avatar
    Good point that the only other time these teams met it was SHSU coming back from a big deficit to win in the playoffs
  6. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 a the SHSU 43. Another deep try for Kaufman but this pass from Adams goes out of bounds on the right side.

    2nd & 10 at the SHSU 43. Clark with a huge catch from Adams. Touchdown Eagles!

    PAT is good.

    SHSU 35 EWU 21 with 1:05 left in the 3rd qtr.

    Could this be a reverse of the big come back by SHSU in 2004 on this same field? This time for EWU with the big comeback.
  7. Kent's Avatar
    The Eagles kick it off deep this time and it is touchback. SHSU will have it at their own 25 to start.
  8. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the SHSU 25. Flanders with a big 12 yard gain to quite the crowd a little.
  9. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the SHSU 37. Flanders gets 5 more.

    That will be the end of the 3rd qtr. SHSU will have it 2nd & 5 when we start the 4th.
  10. Kent's Avatar
    2nd & 5 at the SHSU 42. Sincere gets nothing on the Wildkat keeper.

    3rd & 5. at the SHSU 42. Flanders is stopped short of the first down to bring up 4th down and a punt for the Bearkats.
  11. Kent's Avatar
    The SHSU punt is short and downed at the EWU 28.
  12. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 at the EWU 28. Clark with huge catch.

    1st & 10 at the SHSU 43. Kaufman with a long bomb catch and a touchdown. Wow, what a comeback by the Eagles.

    PAT is good to bring the Eagles within a TD.

    SHSU 35 EWU 28 with 13:08 left in the game.
  13. Kent's Avatar
    EWU crowd is going wild now.
  14. Kent's Avatar
    The EWU kickoff is deep but returned but only gets to the 15.
  15. Kent's Avatar
    1st & 10 actually at the SHSU 14. Huge throw by Bell to the 26.
  16. Kent's Avatar
    Shane Young from his TE position with another huge catch. SHSU moving it again.
  17. Kent's Avatar
    Flanders with a huge 49 yard run to get it inside the EWU 5.
  18. rwallace's Avatar
    Flanders over 200 yards rushing now
  19. Kent's Avatar
    1st & goal at the EWU 3. Sincere gets hit for a yard loss on the wildkat keeper.

    2nd & goal at the EWU 4. TE Young with a catch in the end zone from Bell for the TD.

    PAT is good.

    SHSU 42 EWU 28 with 10:49 left in the game.
  20. Kent's Avatar
    Huge drive when they needed to do something on offense by the Bearkats. I like that they opened up with the pass game. They had been trying to just run it and was why EWU was able to come back.
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