Eastern can’t stop Bison in FCS Championship, lose 24-38

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Eastern Washington University couldn’t stop the North Dakota State Bison from adding another championship to their trophy case (8 in 8 years). The Eagles second foray into a National Championship did not go as well as 2010, when they won the trophy; however this year, they played one of the all time great FCS teams and played them close.

Four times, EWU came within 7 points of NDSU, but the Bison did what they do. When Eastern struck with lighting precision, the Bison launched a grinding ground attack that methodically answered back with points of their own. The Bison’s win, now breaks Georgia Southern’s FCS record of 6 national titles.

“The big thing about this team (NDSU) is their going to run the ball until you stop it,” said EWU linebacker Ketner Kupp. “When you face a team like that, its about doing your job and knowing your fit.”

The Eagles did not do themselves any favors with 3 turnovers. Soph QB Eric Barriere looked pressured when the ground game came to a halt. Aside from a 75 yard run by Sam McPherson, the ground game had little spark to it. Barriere went just 12-23 for 191 yards in his worst outing of the year.

“Their ends did a good job of just rushing, rushing up the field, trying to make me step up and make me break the pocket, especially with a spy on me,” Barriere said. “But also I think we hurt ourselves in a way because we definitely drove the ball, but penalties killed us.”

While huge underdogs (16 point line) the Eagles did show points of brilliance, but clumsy mistakes included 8 penalties (for 60 yards) during key drives. And against the Bison, mistakes turn into points.

“Everyone wanted to know if we were going to walk out of here with a 48-14 (loss) and our chins held high,” said Best, referencing EWU’s underdog label. “But we’re competitors. We earned the right to play in this game, too. And I’m excited to protect those players. They earned this opportunity. And we fell short. Very close, but short.”

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