October 14, 2006

Eastern Washington Spoils Football's Homecoming With Win at Nottingham Field

Oct. 14, 2006

Final Stats |  Photo Gallery

GREELEY, Colo. -- The Eastern Washington University Eagles spoiled the University of Northern Colorado football team's Homecoming, topping the Bears 34-0 on Saturday at Nottingham Field.

A youthful Bears' lineup forced by injuries couldn't find a consistent groove on both sides of the ball. Northern Colorado allowed 478 yards of total offense, while producing 169 yards on the opposite side of the ball.

Northern Colorado (1-6, 0-3 Big Sky) had a tough time getting any offense going against a quick-moving Eastern Washington defense. The Eagles' attack stifled the Bears' passing game, holding Northern Colorado to a season-low 48 yards. Redshirt freshman quarterback Brian Wiedeman, who was given the starting nod on Thursday, wasn't able to find a consistent rhythm, finishing 8-of-18 with three interceptions. One thing that showed through once again was Wiedeman's mobility, as he ran for 30 yards on five carries. It appeared as if the Bears would get on the board in the third quarter when Wiedeman pulled the ball down and ran it in the end zone from 15-yards out, but the play was called back because of a holding penalty.

Junior quarterback Dominic Breazeale didn't fare any better than Wiedeman when he was brought into the game in the third quarter after Wiedeman threw the last of his interceptions. Breazeale went 0-for-5 and was sacked once.

Turnovers once again haunted the Bears, as they committed four on the day compared to one Eastern Washington fumble. Northern Colorado uncharacteristically hurt itself with penalties, which nixed a few big plays. The Bears came into the game as the least penalized team in the Big Sky, however 10 penalties for 99 yards made them look unfamiliar. The Eagles (2-5, 2-2 Big Sky) were not without their mistakes, committing 12 penalties for 107 yards.

Junior punter Rafael Mendoza continued to show his toughness and courage on the field, as he had the best game of his career. Mendoza had all career-highs with 10 punts for an average of 47.8 yards with a long of 75 and four inside the 20. Three of his punts traveled over 50 yards. The 10 punts was one off the Northern Colorado record for most in a game, and his 75-yarder was five yards off the school record of 80, set by Don Geist in 1982.

Senior running back Andre Wilson finished with a solid game, running the ball 21 times for 97 yards. Wilson is 44 yards off of third place in Northern Colorado career rushing history, which is held by Gaynor Blackmon. Wilson needs 405 yards to break Billy Holmes' school record 3,519 career rushing yards.

Junior linebacker Asa Matthews racked up eight total tackles with three for a loss on defense. Redshirt freshman Thomas Bauer, who filled in for the injured Joe Kenney, notched seven total tackles and a sack.

EWU quarterback Matt Nichols went 16-of-21 for 259 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Eagles running back Jesse Hoffman had 16 rushes for 127 yards and a touchdown.

Northern Colorado will take this week off before returning on Oct. 28 for a conference matchup with Sacramento State in Sacramento, Calif. The game is set for a 6:05 p.m. kickoff and will be broadcast on 1310-AM KFKA in Greeley and 1510-AM KYOL in Denver. Free audio can be accessed on UNCBears.com. Internet video from the game can be accessed by going to BigSkyTV.org.