EOU’s Jace Billingsley, left, runs past a Carroll defender during the Mountaineers’ come-from-behind victory Saturday at Community Stadium. Billingsley had 112 yards receiving in the win. (Chris Baxter/The Observer)
Eastern Oregon upsets No. 3 Carroll with rally
The Eastern Oregon University football team shocked the Frontier Conference with a 35-31 upset victory over No. 3 Carroll College Saturday at Community Stadium.
Trailing 31-28 with 2:20 remaining in regulation, the Mountaineers recovered an onside kick and went 46 yards in nine plays, culminating in a 19-yard touchdown catch by Chris McGinnis-Parker with 12 seconds left to put EOU in front.
A last-ditch hail mary by the Saints fell incomplete and Eastern Oregon secured the win.
“It ranks up there, there’s no doubt about that,” EOU head coach Tim Camp said of the win. “We talk about body language. We talk about passion. We talk about coaches mentoring players and getting them to buy in and believe. And that’s what you saw out there today. Guys willing to commit to something that maybe some common people wouldn’t do.”
McGinnis-Parker was the workhorse for the Mountaineers. The junior running back had 187 yards rushing and 19 yards receiving with four touchdowns.
“I just had to keep running hard,” McGinnis-Parker said. “(The coaches) said it was going to be tough sledding. And it sure was.”
Things didn’t start out going EOU’s way.
Carroll jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first half with the Mountaineers committing costly penalties. McGinnis-Parker got Eastern Oregon on the board with a 16-yard touchdown run with 4:13 left in the first half.
But the Saints added a field goal just before halftime to make it a 17-7 lead.
Carroll College went up 24-7 and later 31-14 with five minutes to go in the third quarter. But once the fourth quarter started, that’s when things started to change for Eastern Oregon.
The Mountaineers put together a 90-yard drive that ended on a 4-yard touchdown run by
Following a Carroll punt, the Mountaineers went 92 yards and McGinnis-Parker again found the end zone from 4 yards out to make it 31-28 with 2:20 to go.
“We just had to keep doing our job,” quarterback Dominique Blackman said. “We had so many penalties in the first half. That game really could have been bust wide open. We just tried to make sure we played mistake-free football.”
Perhaps the biggest play of the game came on the onside kick. Kicker Marc David pooched a low bouncer that the Saints defenders didn’t react to. EOU sophomore Tyson Ferstrom was able to scoop the ball up and put the Mountaineers in position for a game-winning drive.
“We work on that stuff every week for multiple periods,” Camp said. “And the time when it shows up, it happens, awesome job.”
“I told President (Bob) Davies we were going to recover that,” Blackman said. “We do that every week in practice. We do more special teams than offense. When it comes to those moments, we’re going to be ready.”
It took the Mountaineers nine plays after the onside kick to find the end zone, with Blackman connecting with McGinnis-Parker for the winning score.
“That felt good, real good,” McGinnis-Parker said.
Blackman completed 17-of-26 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 29 yards and a score.
Jace Billingsley had eight catches for 112 yards for EOU.
The Mountaineers finished with 484 yards, while Carroll had 391.
Dustin Rinker rushed for 165 yards and two scores for the Saints.
Dakota Stonehouse completed 13-of-20 passes for 160 yards and one score.
But Carroll went scoreless in the fourth quarter.
“We just had to go back to the basics of doing our job,” defensive back Nick Magrone said. “We were really just beating ourselves. At halftime, (the coaches) told us we’re our worst opponent. We just started playing together and being committed and it worked out.”
The win snaps a six-game losing streak dating back to last season for the
“This will help get us back out to practice,” Camp said. “It will help keep the passion and the emotion. We gotta make sure we stay on track.”
The Mountaineers (1-4) host No. 15 Montana Western (3-1) Saturday at 1 p.m. for homecoming.
The Bulldogs defeated the Mountaineers in both games the teams played last year.
Montana Western won 16-3 in La Grande and 41-20 in Dillon, Mont.
Other scores around the Frontier Conference on Saturday included Rocky Mountain College defeating Montana Tech 13-6, Southern Oregon University dropping Dickinson State 66-21 and Montana State-Northern edging out Montana Western 33-21.