#1 Eastern Washington FCS Football 2014 Preview

Eastern Washington Eagles

Overall Rank: #1
#1 Big Sky

Eastern Washington Team Page#1 Eastern Washington FCS Football 2014 PreviewBuy Eastern Washington Football Tickets

Going 8-0 in the Big Sky is no easy feat, but that is what Eastern Washington did in 2013. And the expectations are even higher in 2014. Last season the Eagles lost a couple early road games at Toledo and Sam Houston State, but then reeled off their eight straight Big Sky victories. Of course that got EWU the #3 seed in the playoffs and they did make it to the semifinals before falling 35-31 to Towson.

2013 Record: 12-3, 8-0
2013 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Beau Baldwin (56-22 at Eastern Washington, 56-22 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Aaron Best, Zak Hill
Defensive Coordinator: John Graham

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Quincy Forte, RB, 1,208 yards
Passing: Vernon Adams Jr., QB, 4,994 yards
Receiving: Cooper Kupp, WR, 1,691 yards
Tackles: Ronnie Hamlin, LB, 140
Sacks: Evan Day, DL, 6.0
Interceptions: Ronnie Hamlin, LB, 2

Other Key Returnees: RB Mario Brown, WR Corey Mitchell, WR Shaq Hill, OL Clay DeBord, LB Cody McCarthy, LB Albert Havili, LB Miquiyah Zamora, DB Todd Raynes, DB Tevin McDonald

Key Losses: WR Ashton Clark, OL Ashton Miller, OL Steven Forgette, DB Ronald Baines, DB Bo Schuetzle, DB Allen Brown, DB T.J. Lee III, DL Anthony Larry, DL Andrew Pulu

This was one of the most potent offenses in the nation last season and they should be even better this time around. Quarterback Vernon Adams threw for an amazing 4,994 yards and 55 touchdowns last season and added 605 yards and four more scores on the ground. The College Sports Madness 2014 preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Adams will continue his efficient and productive play during his junior campaign. Cooper Kupp, Corey Mitchell and Shaq Hill are back to provide Adams with some dangerous receiving threats. Kupp caught 93 passes for 1,691 yards and 21 touchdowns as a freshman. It is scary to think that he is only getting better. Mitchell is a big experienced senior and Hill is an explosive pass catcher who is always a threat to find the end zone. He averaged nearly 21 yards per catch. Quincy Forte is the main running threat for EWU. He totaled 1,208 yards and 11 scores on the ground.

EWU ranked 115th in the FCS in pass defense and 104th in total defense. Part of those numbers are due to the fact that the Eagles score so much that the opposition has little choice but to take to the air and attempt to stay on par with the EWU offense. So this group is not going to rank among the best in the Big Sky, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. That improvement should come with the return of linebackers Ronnie Hamlin, Cody McCarthy, Albert Havili and Miquiyah Zamora. Hamlin was granted a sixth year of eligibility and he recorded a team high 140 tackles in 2013. Both the line and the secondary will have quite a few new faces. The front will build around Evan Day and Dylan Zylstra, while the secondary has plenty of experience at safety with Tevin McDonald, Todd Raynes and Jordan Tonani.

The Bottom Line:
This is the team to beat in the Big Sky and perhaps the nation. The offense is explosive and not many teams will be able to keep up with EWU. Those that can keep up will attempt to take advantage of the holes on defense, especially in the secondary. It will take a very good passing team to beat this group and that may not happen in Big Sky play.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 183.7 (41st in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 349.8 (4, 1)
Total Offense: 533.5 (4, 2)
Scoring Offense: 39.5 (7, 1)
Rushing Defense: 180.7 (74, 8)
Pass Defense: 277.1 (115, 12)
Total Defense: 457.7 (104, 11)
Scoring Defense: 28.3 (73, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.10 (59, 6)
Sacks: 2.20 (51, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 1.80 (51, 6)

Madness 2014 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#22 Patrick Green
#86 Reilly Hennessey


See All College Sports Madness Top 44 FCS Football Previews