Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday Morning Place Kicker: Eags rule, 'hawks roll and Cougs playing for the Pac-12 North

Posted By on Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 10:30 AM

As barrel into the long Thanksgiving weekend, the region's football teams are getting down to the wire. This weekend saw some good, some bad and plenty of reason to look forward to watching some ball between bouts of a turkey coma.

Let's break it down:
click to enlarge EWU is the nation's No. 2 seed in the FCS playoffs. - EWU ATHLETICS
EWU Athletics
EWU is the nation's No. 2 seed in the FCS playoffs.

Eastern Washington finished off an undefeated Big Sky season with a Friday night win at Portland State, winning 35-28. The Eags didn't make it easy on themselves, falling behind 14-0 early, and then needing two fourth-quarter touchdowns to win it, and end up tied atop the Big Sky standings with North Dakota, who also went 8-0 in conference.
The Big Takeaway: The Eags are the No. 2 seed in the country heading into the playoffs, meaning they'll get to play in Cheney every game until a potential National Championship battle in January down in Frisco, Texas. They get the coming weekend off before playing on Saturday, Dec. 3, against the winner of Illinois State/Central Arkansas.
What to say to your Eags-fan friend today: "Can your car make it to Texas?"

click to enlarge The Cougs look ahead to the Apple Cup Friday after a tough loss Saturday at Colorado. - WSU ATHLETICS
WSU Athletics
The Cougs look ahead to the Apple Cup Friday after a tough loss Saturday at Colorado.


Washington State's magical run toward a perfect Pac-12 season came to an abrupt and pretty ugly end in Colorado Saturday, where the suddenly potent Buffaloes handed WSU a tough defeat, 38-24 . It was an entertaining game that went back and forth, and the Cougs had the lead at the half and were in it heading into the fourth quarter, but Colorado had more to play for and it showed. With a win next week against Utah, the Buffs are in the Pac-12 title game. The Cougs, despite the loss, can make it a rematch if they beat UW in the Apple Cup Friday. That said, WSU might not want to see Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau again that soon; the senior threw for more yards than the Cougs all-world QB Luke Falk, and added more than 100 yards on the ground as well.
The Big Takeaway: The Cougs still control their own Pac-12 destiny. If they beat the Huskies in Pullman on Friday, they go to the Pac-12 championship game to face either Colorado or USC.
What to say to your Coug-fan friends today: "Got any extra tickets to the Apple Cup?"

click to enlarge Danger Russ led the 'hawks to another win Sunday. - SEAHAWKS.COM
Danger Russ led the 'hawks to another win Sunday.

Seattle kept up their current win streak, stretching it to three games after thoroughly dominating the Philadelphia Eagles and their rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, winning 26-15. Seattle QB Russell Wilson played his typically efficient game, rookie running back C.J. Prosise looked great before leaving the game with an injury, and Thomas Rawls returned from his injury to get some work and give some hope to the Seahawks running game going into the end of the season.
The Big Takeaway: With the Arizona Cardinals losing, the Seahawks pretty much have a death grip on the division lead and can focus on trying to catch the Cowboys and capture homefield advantage in the playoffs. They'll most likely be favored in every game the rest of the season.
What to say to your Seahawks-fan friend today: "Too bad the 'hawks don't play on Thanksgiving. I hate watching the Cowboys."

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About The Author

Dan Nailen

Dan Nailen is the managing editor of the Inlander, where he oversees coverage of arts and culture. He's previously written and edited for The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City Weekly, Missoula Independent, Salt Lake Magazine, The Oregonian and KUER-FM. He grew up seeing the country in an Air Force family and studied...