UC Davis at Eastern Washington FCS Playoff Game Breakdown

#6 UC-Davis at #3 Eastern Washington
UC-Davis earned their first ever FCS playoff win over Northern Iowa, 23-16. In the end, the Aggies had too much offense and their defense came up big with a couple interceptions. Their rushing game may have actually been the difference as Tehran Thomas and Ulonzo Gilliam combined for 135 yards and a touchdown, giving some balance to Jake Maier’s 310 yards passing. UNI was a good opponent to prepare for in front of the pending rematch with Eastern Washington. Although, the Eagles will pose many more issues offensively than the Panthers.
Speaking of Eastern Washington, the home folks had to be a little nervous at the beginning of the second quarter. Nicholls had just scored for second time and gone up 14-3. That’s when things changed and the Eagles turned up the heat in The Inferno (Roos Stadium), and rattled off 39 consecutive points. This includes 22 in the fourth quarter alone, putting the game out of reach. Eric Barriere was solid, going 17-29 for 162 yards passing with a score and a pick. But the star for the day was running back Sam McPherson, who ground out 139 yards and two touchdowns. Any chance of a comeback by the Colonels was finished when Ketner Kupp returned an interception 95 yards for a touchdown.
It’s Big Sky rematch time. You have to figure when the brackets came out, UC-Davis saw this as a potential opportunity to right one of only two wrongs on the schedule this year. The first meeting with the Eagles ended in a lopsided 59-20 massacre. Ironically, the Eagles might be viewing this game like the Aggies were eying UNI; as preparation for the following week’s revenge. There’s a chance Eastern Washington could get a rematch with Weber State, to right one of their wrongs. In the end, this game should be much closer than the first meeting. Surely, the Aggies will figure out a way to patch up some of the problem from the first tilt. But the Eagles are at home. The program has a pretty good history of playoff success, not that it necessarily pertains to this year’s success. But the Eagles look like they’re just a little bit better top to bottom.
Prediction: Eastern Washington 38, UC-Davis 31