Eagles Eager For Revenge Against Bearkats - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Eagles Eager For Revenge Against Bearkats

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CHENEY, Wash. -

At Eastern Washington’s football practice Tuesday, the Roos Field scoreboard was lit up with a reminder of just how close the Eagles came to a national championship appearance last season.

Eagles 42, Bearkats 45.

“It’s something just to kind of remind you,” coach Beau Baldwin said. “We’re human. I can give you coach talk and tell you, ‘We prepare the same for every game.’ And it’s not like we’re going to prepare any harder or different this game compared to games coming up, but you’re going to feel it, and if you’re a competitor, you’re going to know that they came in and beat you on your home turf.

“I give all the credit to them. They did a great job, and they came in and got us and earned it. But, as a competitor, you want a shot back, so that just reminds you of who ended your season last year.”

The Eagles fell behind 35-0 at halftime, but then-redshirt freshman quarterback Vernon Adams’ six second-half touchdown passes were nearly enough to pull the historic comeback. Adams still has the newspaper article posted in his locker.

“Payback,” Adams said when asked what one word he would use to describe Saturday’s matchup. “I can’t stop thinking about that game. I try not to think about it early in the season when we played other teams, but it was still in the back of my mind.

“We owe these guys.”

Adams played scintillatingly well the first two weeks, but struggled in the final three quarters of a 33-21 loss at Toledo Sept. 14.

“I need to relax, keep up my fundamentals, my techniques, and play my game,” Adams said. “Kill them with my feet if I have to, stay in the pocket, do whatever I have to do to lead my team to a win. That’s my main goal – get the win on Saturday.”

Bowers Stadium in Huntsville, Texas, will be the site of Saturday’s showdown, “about two hours” from Katy, Texas, junior wide receiver Cory Mitchell’s hometown. “I’m excited,” Mitchell said. “Can’t wait to get to play in front of my family.”

The Bearkats boast an offense with explosiveness comparable to the Eagles, scoring an FCS-high 52.3 points per game. “There’s a lot of things we need to do to secure this game,” defensive back T.J. Lee III said. “We know we need to be fundamental. We’ve had two weeks to prep, now all we got to do is go out and play when the time comes.”

Baldwin sees his players practicing hard coming off the bye week, and is eager to watch his team play on Saturday with revenge on their minds. “I think our guys are hungry. The combination of sitting around with a bye week – they want to get going again. And coming off a loss, and having another week to have to taste that without getting a chance at redemption.”

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