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Eastern Washington - Football

Baldwin to Eagles: Don't take Western Oregon lightly

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(Photo: File / SWX) (Photo: File / SWX)
  • Eastern Washington - FootballBaldwin to Eagles: Don't take Western Oregon lightlyMore>>

  • Eastern Washington - Football

    EWU ready to hit someone else for a change

    EWU ready to hit someone else for a change

    Tuesday, September 1 2009 8:31 PM EDT2009-09-02 00:31:38 GMT
    (Photo: File / SWX)(Photo: File / SWX)
    CHENEY, Wash. - Eastern Washington, still waiting to hear from the NCAA whether they'll be able to play in the postseason, is set kick off a new season on Saturday.More >>
    CHENEY, Wash. - Eastern Washington, still waiting to hear from the NCAA whether they'll be able to play in the postseason, is set kick off a new season on Saturday. The team still hasn't heard from an NCAA appeals committee whether it will lift the postseason ban that was imposed for violations that occurred during the Paul Wulff era. More >>

Season opener to be seen live on SWX Saturday at 12 Noon

Sure, they're not even in the same division, but Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin is warning his players not to take Western Oregon lightly this weekend in Cheney.

The Eagles kick things off on Saturday at Noon against the Wolves from Monmouth, Ore.  Even though Western Oregon is a smaller school, playing in Division II, it lost just 14 of 62 letter winners from last season.

"It's an opponent that - they're going to be jacked up to play here," said Baldwin.  "They're physical up front.  They have a senior quarterback, which we found out is always a challenge.  Last year we faced a senior quarterback against Western Washington and I think we were tied going into the fourth quarter."

Baldwin added the Wolves also have talented receivers and are a well coached.

"I think it's going to be a tremendous challenge for us.  And our guys better not get caught up in the classification," he said.

Western Oregon went 7-4 overall last year and 5-3 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.  The team they're fielding in 2009 is an experienced one, with six returning starters on offense and eight returners on defense.

The Eagles will learn quickly they'll have to stop Western Oregon from running the ball.  Running back Ben Kuenzi finished second in the GNAC yards-per-game rushing category last season and was second in rushing touchdowns (6).  As a team they led the conference in rushing offense, averaging more than 141 yards per gamne.  Returning quarterback Josh Riddell was third in the conference in passing yards per game (252.4) and pass efficiency (150.2).

Defensively for the Wolves, JT Gilmore ranked third in the GNAC in tackles with 8.9 per game (89 total).  Gavin Romanick was second in the conference in interceptions with five and seventh in tackles for loss (.091).

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