CHENEY, Wash. (AP) — Eric Barriere threw for one touchdown and ran for another and the Eastern Washington defense continually came up with big plays in a 19-9 win over Northern Iowa in the first round of the FCS playoffs on Saturday.
The Eagles (10-2) advance to a second-round game on Friday night at conference rival Montana, the sixth-seed in the playoffs and a team they beat 34-28 in a battle of Top 10 teams in the middle of the season.
Barriere connected with Nolan Ulm for a 26-yard touchdown to open the scoring. Barriere then spun out of a sack, weaved his way past several defenders and raced around the left in for an 18-yard score that made it 16-7 midway through the third quarter.
Three times the Panthers (6-6) stopped Eastern Washington on fourth down and out-gained the Eagles 423-412 but couldn’t come up with clutch plays.
Keshaun King had two of Eastern’s three interceptions and linebacker Ty Graham’s 13 tackles led a defense that held Northern Iowa to 2 of 15 on third down and 2 of 5 on fourth down. Two of the fourth down stops were in the fourth quarter, one at the EWU 3. All three picks were in the second half, the last two in the fourth quarter at the EWU 9 and 15.
Theo Day threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Sam Schnee in the last minute of the second quarter to make it a 9-7 game. But on their first two possessions of the second half the Panthers missed a field goal and King had a 20-yard return on an interception to the UNI 27 to set up Berriere’s run.
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