Eastern Eagles release Spring football game schedule
CHENEY, Wash. — After changes necessitated by four Big Sky Conference teams bowing out of the upcoming six-game winter/spring football season, the Eastern Washington University football team will play at home and away on the same dates from Feb. 27 through April 10 despite the change of several opponents.
Eastern will host Northern Arizona on March 6, Cal Poly on March 27 and Idaho on April 10. Road games will be at Idaho on Feb. 27, Idaho State on March 13 and UC Davis on April 3. The adjustments were approved by the Big Sky Conference Presidents’ Council and announced by the league office on Monday (Jan. 25).
At this time, no spectators will be permitted to attend EWU home football games due to institutional, regional, and state guidelines in regards to the Covid-19 pandemic. But if that changes, season ticket holders and suite holders will be contacted with options for purchasing tickets to the abbreviated campaign.
The original winter/spring schedule was released on Nov. 4, and Sacramento State was the only team to announce then that the Hornets would skip the spring season and prepare for the fall 2021 campaign. But since Jan. 15, Montana, Montana State, Portland State and Northern Colorado have announced they were playing a reduced schedule, leaving the league with eight teams to play the full six games.
Essentially, league administrators came up with a schedule that replaced EWU’s home game with the Grizzlies with the NAU contest, and EWU road games versus PSU and MSU with games at Idaho State and Idaho.
Open dates in the schedule are set for March 20 and April 17 in case games need to be re-scheduled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The 16-team NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs are scheduled to begin April 24 and culminate with the championship game on May 15. Teams are required to play four games to qualify.
The game with Cal Poly will mark the return to EWU of new Mustang head coach Beau Baldwin, who spent 13 previous seasons as a coach at EWU. He was an assistant from 2003-06, and head coach from 2008-16.
Eastern was 3-1 in the 2019 season versus opponents on this spring’s schedule, including a league-opening 35-27 loss at Idaho on Sept. 21, 2019. Later, on consecutive weeks, Eastern defeated NAU (66-38), ISU (48-5) and Cal Poly (42-41). The Eagles haven’t played UC Davis since a 34-29 victory in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs in 2018, giving EWU a perfect 8-0 mark all-time against the Aggies.
On Aug. 7 in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Big Sky Conference announced that all league schools – including Eastern – would move their 2020 schedule to winter/spring 2021. The NCAA had previously announced that the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs would not have its playoffs in the fall, and eventually announced their move to 2021.
The 2020 schedule was going to be Eastern’s best in school history, featuring home games versus Montana, Montana State, Idaho and two-time defending Big Sky Conference champion Weber State. The Eagles were scheduled to open Big Sky Conference play at Southern Utah on Sept. 26, followed by its conference home opener versus Montana on Oct. 3. The schedule also included non-conference home games versus Western Illinois and Northern Arizona, and a trip to play at Florida.