Eastern’s offense soars in win over Northern Arizona
CHENEY, Wash. –The Eastern Washington University football team took a 24-6 lead at halftime and went on to beat Northern Arizona 45-13 in a Big Sky Conference game on Saturday (March 6) at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. The win was the 15th-straight for the Eagles at “The Inferno,” and Saturday was the first game on the new red Astroturf surface installed at “The Inferno” last summer.
“Our team did a great job today with the game plan in all three phases,” said Eastern head coach Aaron Best. “It was a windy environment but the sun was out, and it was our first home game in the 2020-21 season and the first game on the new red turf. We held serve and we’ve won 15 in a row at home. We’re happy for the fans who weren’t in the stands today, but were on the hills watching.”
Barriere passed for 413 yards and three touchdowns in the victory, including eight catches for 120 yards to junior Andrew Boston. Barriere now has four 400-yard performances in his Eastern career as he completed 29-of-49 passes.
Boston, an All-Big Sky performance who missed last week’s 28-21 loss at Idaho, had his third 100-yard receiving performance of his career – including 30 yards after his catches.
“It was nice having Andrew Boston back making plays and over 100 yards,” said Best. “His leadership and his ability be able to catch the ball and get up field really helped in that department.”
Barriere completed passes to 10 different receivers, and is now a perfect 12-0 as a starter at Roos Field. Senior running back Tamarick Pierce had his first career 100-yard performance with 105 yards rushing and two touchdowns as Eastern piled up 607 yards of total offense – the 34th 600-yard game in EWU’s history.
Eastern’s defense held NAU to 344 total yards, a week after holding Idaho to 366. Eastern had three turnovers to NAU’s none, however, leading to six punts by the Lumberjacks and just two by the Eagles.
Junior linebacker Chris Ojoh finished with a career-high 12 tackles, a pass broken up and a quarterback hurry for EWU, and he also was in on one of EWU’s sacks. He had now been in double figures in tackles in five career games. Junior Mitchell Johnson had 1 1/2 sacks, a quarterback hurry and a total of eight tackles for EWU.
Best, who missed last week’s game versus Idaho because of an asymptomatic case of Covid-19, relished his return to the sideline after being in pandemic-required isolation since Feb. 25.
“It was awesome to get to see the smiles, the joy and the emotion of what these players and coaches love to do,” he said. “It was more normal this week, and I was excited for the experience today. It wasn’t any less than what I expected. Getting back in the swing of things was beautiful.”