No. 5 EWU Holds On To Beat No. 11 Montana, 36-26 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

No. 5 EWU Holds On To Beat No. 11 Montana, 36-26

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Vernon Adams returned to action to lead the Eags to a big win over Montana on Saturday. Vernon Adams returned to action to lead the Eags to a big win over Montana on Saturday.

CHENEY, Wash. -- No. 11 Eastern Washington topped No. 11 Montana 36-26 in a major Big Sky Conference clash on senior day and as Vernon Adams Jr.'s return to action at Roos Field on Saturday.

Adams finished 25-37 passing for 410 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first action since breaking his foot vs. Idaho State on Oct. 4. Cooper Kupp and Shaq Hill combined for 15 catches for 237 yards receiving and 2 TDs to lead the Eagles (9-1, 6-1 Big Sky). Kupp also had a 67-yard punt return touchdown in the game.

"Vernon was gutsy," Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin said. "He definitely wasn't 100 percent in terms of being able to move and get out of things like he usually can, but he was still was able to buy time, see things, throw from the pocket and make a lot of plays. I guarantee his foot is hurting him, but it was a very impressive performance by Vernon."

After trailing 33-10 midway through the third quarter following Kupp's return TD, the Grizzlies (6-4, 4-2) scored three times to put some fourth-quarter pressure on EWU.

But the Eags put the game away on a 34-yard Tyler McNannay field goal with 28 seconds left.

Montana's Jordan Johnson completed 29-of-50 passes for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns, but also threw two costly interceptions. Jamaal Jones had nine catches for 139 yards receiving and a score.

Linebacker Ronnie Hamlin broke JC Scherrit's EWU all-time tackles record with nine during the game. Hamlin now has 440 career tackles and sits second all-time in Big Sky Conference history and is 15th in the Football Championship Subdivision record book.

"Ronnie has been so stellar in terms of his work ethic and leadership," Baldwin said. "This is well-deserved. Obviously J.C. was special, but I am sure J.C would be the first to say if somebody were to beat the record, he loves to see a guy like Ronnie do it because Ronnie does it the right way. He leads the right way. He is a great player and he deserves it."

With the win Eastern all-but guaranteed its self as spot in the FCS playoffs.

(Information from EWU's release was used in this article)

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