Local College Football | EWU beats Portland State 47-10 in Seattle
Eastern enjoys its trip to Seattle by beating Portland State 47-10.
Special to The Seattle Times
If you schedule it, will they come?
Saturday's "Showdown on the Sound" at Qwest Field, with Eastern Washington in the role of home team, attracted 6,124 to watch Eastern pound Portland State 47-10 in a Big Sky Conference mismatch — two outcomes that had EWU athletic director Bill Chaves smiling.
"I'm excited by the crowd," said Chaves as Eastern joined Washington State and Central Washington as eastside universities that have played home games at Qwest. "The opportunity to literally bring the university to the west side has been fantastic."
Chaves estimated that EWU needed a turnout of 5,000-plus to break even financially on moving a home game west.
"But," Chaves added, "the exposure for us on the west side from a recruiting standpoint, from connecting with alums who haven't seen us play in years — I'm not sure what dollars and cents you can put on that value."
EWU has not committed to future games at Qwest.
"We'll analyze this," Chaves said. "Year one, you never know how it's going to go. We have to make sure this makes sense for us. But I can tell you this anecdotally: This has been tremendous for the university."
Quarterback Matt Nichols, one of 17 EWU players recognized during pregame Senior Day ceremonies, made sure the game was entertaining for the crowd by tossing four touchdown passes, tying the Eastern school record for career touchdown throws (84) in the process.
"It was one of those games where everything seemed to work after the first couple of drives," said Nichols, who completed 21 of 30 passes for 413 yards, his 16th career 300-yard game. Sophomore Tyler Hart (Friday Harbor) caught two of Nichols' scoring passes, and sophomore running back Taiwan Jones ran for a pair of first-half touchdowns.
For Eastern (6-3 overall, 5-2 Big Sky), the win was its first over Portland State (2-7, 1-5) in four seasons and sustained its hopes of returning to postseason play for the first time since 2007.
The game between two Football Championship Subdivision teams (formerly Division I-AA) featured the charms of smaller-scale college football — two safeties, two missed extra points, eight plays that covered 30 or more yards, a curious halftime score of 33-4 and four interceptions by one player, sophomore Matt Johnson.
"I've never seen anybody have four interceptions in one game," Nichols said. "That was pretty cool."
Nichols, who last week engineered a 21-point fourth-quarter rally for a come-from-behind win, had a rough start. On Eastern's first three drives, the Eagles twice went three-and-out and Nichols was tackled for a safety.
He rebounded with five scoring drives in six possessions — first a 38-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Hart, followed by scoring runs of 1 and 47 yards by Jones, then touchdown throws to Nathan Overbay (6 yards) and Hart (26).
Nichols added a 25-yard scoring toss to Tony Davis in the third quarter, and Darriell Beaumonte added a 1-yard TD run in the fourth.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.