Here’s everything you need to know to impress your friends, family and fellow Black Bear fans regarding Saturday’s UMaine - Eastern Washington semifinal playoff game.
The Black Bears (10-3) will play the Eastern Washington University Eagles (11-2) at 2 p.m. Saturday in Cheney, Washington.
The town is named after former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Ok. I made that up. But feel free to use it. After a few beers Saturday your friends will buy it.
Everything else here is true. I’ll swear to it with my hand on a filled Maine stein.
The Black Bears will be making the longest trip in its history. A week after traveling to Ogden, Utah (2,594 miles away), Maine will trek 3,003 miles to Cheney.
Las Vegas likes Eastern Washington at home, big time. The Line: Eastern Washington Eagles -11 -- Over/Under: 59
EWU has been known as the Eagles since 1973. Prior to that they were the Savages. Yup. They didn’t have to wait until today’s politically correct culture to know that needed to be amended in pronto.
The Eagles mascot is named Swoop.
It will be a unique visual experience watching this game as Eastern Washington features red turf on their home field. “The Inferno” is the nickname for the stadium, and “Protect the Red” is their battle cry.
Since installing the red turf in 2010, the Eagles are 51-10 at home. Seating capacity is only 8600 although they boast a record attendance of more than 11,000 for a game against Montana.
The Eagles rank second in the nation among FCS schools in total offense. They average a whopping 538.3 yards per game. EWU is fifth in FCS in points scored, averaging 44 points per game.
But Maine’s defense is ranked seventh in the nation in total defense. The Black Hole is allowing just 293 yards per game and only 21.3 points per game.
It is worth noting that one of the Eagles on losses came against the team Maine just defeated, Weber State, 14 to 6.
The Eagles kicker was just given the Fred Mitchell Award as the best non-FBS kicker in the country. Roldan Alcobendas is the only player in FCS (minimum of one attempt per game) to be perfect kicking field goals (15-of-15). Alcobendas is ninth in FCS in scoring overall.
His 45.3 punting average is second nationally. He is a sixth year senior due to two injuries during his playing career.
EWU has a long history of playoff success. They are 18-11 all time in playoff games and won the 2010 National Championship by beating Delaware.
In 2013, they became one of the only FCS teams to ever beat a nationally ranked FBS (so called big boy) opponent when they upset #25 Oregon State.
Next year they play the Washington Huskies, currently #9 in the nation and in 2020 they take on the Florida Gators who are currently #10 in the latest AP Poll.