Gubrud honored by Big Sky after record-breaking performance - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Gubrud honored by Big Sky after record-breaking performance

Gubrud threw for shool-record 549 yards. Photo: EWU Athletics Gubrud threw for shool-record 549 yards. Photo: EWU Athletics

By Eastern Washington Athletics

Now clicking on all cylinders, Eastern Washington University senior quarterback Gage Gubrud has directed a second-half renaissance for the Eastern Washington University football team during a current two-game winning streak.
 
As a result, Gubrud has been honored by the Big Sky Conference as Offensive Player of the Week, sharing the honor with EWU's opposing quarterback when the Eagles host Sacramento State this Saturday (Sept. 30) at 1:35 p.m. on Hall of Fame Day and "Believe Day" at Roos Field.
 
A school-record 549-yard passing performance – both as a team and by Gubrud – helped EWU extend its Big Sky Conference winning streak to nine games last week. Eastern rallied from a 24-6 deficit at halftime to thoroughly dominate Montana in the second half for a 48-41 victory in Missoula.
 
Gubrud's 560 yards of total offense were also a record, as he had a hand in 77 of EWU's 96 offensive plays (65 passes and 12 rushes). Senior Nic Sblendorio had the second-best receiving day in school history with 18 catches, and junior Nsimba Webster equaled the sixth-best with 13 grabs.
 
"Gage had a fabulous game at Montana and I'm really proud of him," said Eagle head coach Aaron Best of Gubrud, who now owns seven of the top nine single game total offense performances in school history and six of the top 15 passing performances. "We see him Sunday to Saturday here on campus, and we see what a great person he is and how hard he prepares for each and every opponent. He's professional in his approach to the game – win, lose or draw."
 
Gubrud was also Big Sky Player of the Week when he helped Eastern beat Fordham 56-21 one week earlier, helping Eastern produce remarkable numbers in the second half of its last two games after some not so impressive numbers in the first two. Eastern scored 42 points and had 397 yards in the second half against Montana, a week after scoring 35 with 361 yards at Fordham. Eastern was scoreless in the second half of EWU's season-opener versus Texas Tech when it had just 62 yards after intermission, then was held to just a field goal and 58 yards versus North Dakota State. Thus, the totals in the last two games are 11 touchdowns, 77 points and 758 yards against the Griz and Rams, but no touchdowns, three points and 120 yards in losses to the Red Raiders and Bison.
 
"You think maybe he was Clark Kent after the first two games – he found a phone booth and he changed clothes," said Best. "But he didn't do that. Those were two quality opponents and we were in our first two games of our new offensive coaching staff, so we were still getting familiar with each other. He was the same player, but the numbers were just different.
 
"The numbers were a little more in our favor this week," Best added. "Just because it's not an Eastern record in subsequent weeks doesn't mean he's not exceeding expectations. We've been spoiled by our riches in that respect."
 
Sacramento State is coming off an overwhelming 54-27 home victory over Southern Utah in which quarterback Kevin Thomson passed for 253 yards and rushed for another 149 in the win. He accounted for seven touchdowns – three through the air and four on the ground for head coach Jody Sears, who was an Eastern assistant coach from 2000-07. Paul Wulff, his assistant head coach and running game coordinator at Sac State, was at Eastern from 1993-2007. Wulff was head coach at Eastern from 2000-07.
 
As a result of their productive days, Thomson and Gubrud shared this week's Big Sky honor – for Gubrud it was his second-straight and fifth of his career. Thomson also won National FCS Offensive Player of the Year honors from STATS, an honor for which Gubrud – a 2016 FCS All-American & Touchdown Club of Columbus FCS Player of the Year -- earned honorable mention for the second-straight week.
 
Entering Saturday's game, Gubrud is ranked fifth in FCS in total offense per game (349.3) and sixth in passing (322.3), while Thomson is 32nd in total offense (253.5) and 11th in average yards per passing attempt (19.5). With four touchdowns on the ground and nine through the air, the UNLV transfer is also second in FCS in points responsible per game (19.5).

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