Eastern Oregon’s Kedrick Starr returns a kick during the Mountaineers’ victory over Montana Western Saturday. (Phil Bullock/The Observer)
Eastern Oregon shuts out No. 21 Montana Western en route to 20-0 victory
The Eastern Oregon University football team has its mojo back. A week after upsetting No. 3 Carroll College, the Mountaineers upset No. 21 Montana Western 20-0 Saturday at Community Stadium.
“It’s just a result of another good week of practice,” linebacker Ryan Watson said after the Mountaineers held one of the nation’s best rushing attacks to 115 yards.
“These last two weeks, coach just emphasized focus, enthusiasm and doing the little things that matter.”
Eastern Oregon (2-4 overall, 2-3 Frontier Conference) wasn’t perfect on offense, but the Mountaineers still finished with 453 yards of offense in the win.
“We can run the ball on anyone in the country,” quarterback Dominique Blackman said. “With the line we got, these guys get it. It makes it easier on me on third downs, all I gotta do is play catch.”
The Mountaineers got on the board on their second possession of the game.
After going 51 yards in nine plays the drive stalled, but Marc David was able to connect on a 32-yard field goal to make it a 3-0 EOU lead.
Early in the second quarter, T.J. Esekielu came in for Blackman and broke off a 40-yard touchdown run to make it 10-0 with 9:28 left in the first half.
“That kid, every play that (is called for him) is quarterback run, he’ll score on it once a game,” EOU head coach Tim Camp said. “T.J.’s an unbelievable athlete.”
Esekielu now has five rushing touchdowns this season.
After forcing the Bulldogs (3-2, 3-2) to punt, the Mountaineers put together a 13-play, 50-yard drive that ended on a 25-yard field goal by David to extend the EOU lead to 13-0 with 1:29 left in the first half.
Late in the third quarter, Blackman connected with Justin Hernandez on a 25-yard touchdown passfor the final score.
“The more reps I get, the more opportunities I get, I just want to take advantage of them and do the best I can,” Blackman said.
From there, the Mountaineers defense took over.
EOU forced two turnovers on downs and a punt in the fourth quarter. The Mountaineers forced the Bulldogs to punt seven times in the game.
“We watched a lot of film,” said Watson, who had six tackles and an interception. “They had a really good run game. We just had to step up and make plays. The defensive line did a great job playing physical.”
Blackman finished 16-of-24 for 198 yards and a touchdown. Chris McGinnis-Parker rushed for 182 yards on 27 carries. Jace Billingsley caught nine passes for 86 yards.
The Mountaineers held Sam Rutherford, Western’s leading rusher, to 89 rushing yards on 16 carries.
Eastern Oregon has a bye week this week but will be back in action Oct. 19 at Rocky Mountain College.