Adams had five touchdown passes and 244 yards of total offense, and Forte rushed for 202 and a score, as the third-seeded and No. 3 ranked Eastern Washington University football team beat 13th-ranked South Dakota State 41-17 Saturday (Dec. 7) at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash., in the second round of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.
Eastern will now host a game in the quarterfinals against the winner of Jacksonville State at sixth-seeded McNeese State. If EWU beats SDSU, the game will be played in Cheney. A year ago, Eastern advanced to the semifinals and won the title in 2010.
Information on tickets for the game at “The Inferno” – where EWU is 23-3 all-time – will be available at: http://goeags.com/ticket/13playoffs. The game will be broadcast live on internet-based ESPN3, and fans may also listen live regionally on 700-AM ESPN and via the web at www.700espn.com.
The Eagles, who capped a perfect 8-0 Big Sky Conference season with a 42-41 win over the Vikings on Nov. 23, are now 11-2 on the season with a nine-game winning streak. Eastern finished the regular season ranked third in The Sports Network FCS Top-25 Poll for the sixth-straight week, and entered the playoffs as the No. 3 seed.
The Jackrabbits finished 9-5 on the season after finishing 5-3 in a four-way tie for second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference behind two-time defending FCS Champion North Dakota State (8-0).
Forte had the 25th performance in school history with 200 rushing yards or more, and shattered his previous career high of 123 set earlier this season. His performance was the best by an Eagle since Taiwan Jones had 230 versus North Dakota State in the 2010 FCS Playoffs.
Adams had a season-low 12 completions and his second-fewest attempts with 22, but TD passes of 69 and 40 yards helped him to a 217-yard passing game, to go along with 27 on the ground. He now has 51 touchdown passes this season to move into a tie with Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois for third all-time in FCS history, just five from the record.
Freshman Cooper Kupp had four catches for 90 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He broke the school record with 20 TD catches for the season, (19 shared by Nicholas Edwards, 2011, and Eric Kimble, 2004) and broke the FCS record for most touchdowns by a freshman (Moss with 19 in 1996). He also tied the Big Sky record of 20 TD catches set originally by Ed Bell of Idaho State in 1969.
Now with 81 receptions, Cooper Kupp has tied the FCS record for receptions by a freshman (81, Sean Price, Appalachian State, 2012). He is currently sixth in school history, and is just two from fifth and four from fourth. The school record is 95 set by Nicholas Edwards in 2011.
With a touchdown reception in all 13 of the games he has played in his EWU career, one game earlier he broke the record of 11 consecutive games with a TD catch previously held by Randy Moss from Marshall in 1996 and Cal Poly’s Ramses Barden in 2008.
Eastern finished with 504 yards of offense for EWU’s seventh performance of 500 or more yards. Now with 526 points this season, EWU broke the school record of 488 set in 2004.The Big Sky record is 537 points set by Montana in 2009.
Defensively, Eastern held SDSU 2,000-yard rusher Zach Zenner to 71 yards and a single touchdown on 21 carries. Buck Buchanan Award candidate Ronnie Hamlin led the Eagles with 13 tackles for the 15th performance of his career of 10 or more tackles. Safety Todd Raynes added seven tackles, a forced fumble and two passes broken up.
More will be available later, including quotes from head coach Beau Baldwin -- as well as EWU's opponent, date and time in the quarterfinals -- later tonight at www.goeags.com.