The Opener

By Mick Holien

Despite graduation of a trio of primo receivers, in a battle of gun slinging offenses Eastern Washington extended mastery over the Grizzlies to position themselves probably into the FCS top 10 and in their customary position looking down at the University of Montana.

Winners of seven of the last eight matchups, including two of the last three games at Washington Grizzly Stadium, the Eagles took no quarter after the Intermission in making up an 18 point deficit and scoring 42 second half points prevailing 48-41.

Quite a show indeed.

The Big Sky Conference MVP Gabe Gubrud connected on 44 of 65 for 549 yards and four Touchdowns, the bulk of the offensive explosion occurring in the game’s last half hour.

Gubrud’s nine second stanza exploits, consisting of a half dozen TDs and a missed field goal, paced the Eagles to a ninth straight circuit victory since 2015.

Before what was termed a sold-out Wa Griz crowd of just short of 26,000, Gubrud’s offensive explosion established a school standard as did Nick Splendorio’s 18 receptions totaling 189 yards.

Zimba Webster also eclipsed the century mark corralling 13 for 143 yards as the pair of teams each ran 96 plays and totaled some 900 yards of offense.

In his own right in starting initially freshman Gresch Jensen was 25 of 49 for 358 yards and a pair of scores and tallied a pair of other scores on the ground.

And the Seattle area product spread the ball around finding eight different receivers with no player catching more than a quartet of balls.

Justin Calhoun paced the Griz field with 106 yards on just three catches while the run game produced 180 yards with Washington state transfer Aalijah Le running for 79.

Defensively for Montana Josh Buss, James Banks and Josh Sandry all registered double figure tackles while Connor Strahm stuffed his stat sheet with six tackles, four for loss, to augment three sacks totaling 24 yards.

Elsewhere Sac upset Southern Utah, upstart Idaho state lost to Northern Colorado on a walk-off field, Weber state trounced UC Davis 41-3, the Cats dominated North Dakota in Grand forks while Portland state lays in wait in Roseburg, Oregon for Montana after a bye.

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