Eastern vs. North Dakota State Playoff Game is 12:35 p.m. on Saturday

Tickets are now on sale as the Eagles and Bison square off in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs

The game time has been set for 12:35 p.m. Pacific time for the Eastern Washington versus North Dakota State University game this Saturday (Dec. 11) at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash., in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.

It will be the first-ever meeting between the Eagles and the Bison, with EWU making its eighth playoff appearance and NDSU its first. The Eagles are now 6-7 in the FCS Playoffs and will be making their fifth appearance in the quarterfinals, but are just 1-3 thus far in those games.

Tickets for the game are now available via TicketsWest.com (CLICK HERE for direct link to tickets and CLICK HERE for direct link to RV passes) and 1-800-325-7328. Links will also be available via www.goeags.com (http://goeags.com/tickets/ewas-fbticketcentral.html).

Prices range from $10-20, and RV/tailgating passes and 2011 season tickets are also available. Current season ticket holders have until Dec. 9 to purchase their playoff tickets and retain their own seats, and after that those seats will be available for the general public to purchase.

Tickets for Eastern Washington University students are $5 each and will be available at the Athletic Ticket Office at Reese Court (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Ticket information is also available by calling 509-359-4339.

The game will be produced by ESPN and syndicated to various regional sports networks and stations throughout the country, but no announcement will be made until later in the week. Eastern’s 2007 quarterfinal game at Appalachian State reached more than 16 million homes nationwide as part of the ESPN Gameplan television coverage of the game. That year, Fox Sports Northwest picked up the game, as well as KAYU Channel 28 in Spokane and KCYU Channel 41 in Yakima. It was also available via Altitude Sports and Entertainment on DirectTV and Dish Network.

The ESPN production will also be available via webcast at www.ncaa.org. The radio broadcast of the game, featuring play-by-play announcer Larry Weir, may be heard on 700-AM ESPN "The Ticket" and via the web at www.espnnorthwest.com.

North Dakota State, located in Fargo, N.D., has already won two playoff games and is 9-4 on the season. The Bison picked up a 43-17 win over Robert Morris in the first round, then knocked off Montana State 42-17 in Bozeman last Saturday as they scored the last 28 points of the game in the fourth quarter.

D.J. McNorton, a 5-9 1/2, 203-pound halfback, rushed for 207 of NDSU’s 376 rushing yards against MSU and had four touchdowns. He is currently 14th in FCS in rushing yards per game (110.4) and 18th in all-purpose rushing (143.2).

All four of North Dakota State’s losses this season were to Missouri Valley Conference foes as they finished 4-4 in the league. The Bison, who opened the season with a 6-3 victory over Kansas, lost to Northern Iowa (16-9), Western Illinois (28-16), Illinois State (34-24) and Missouri State (3-0). They had no common opponents with EWU, and finished the year ranked 25th in the The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 NCAA FCS poll. Eastern was ranked No. 1.

The Bison are ranked seventh in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 16.7 points per game. They are also sixth in turnover margin (+1.0 per game) and 16th in passing efficiency defense (106.4).

“It’s going to be a slugfest,” said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. “They are a physical football team -- they are a run-the-ball-first team and they play great defense. And they’ve been successful for a number of years no matter what level they’ve played at. They are a team that has showed they have the makings of what you want in a playoff football team with their performance in the fourth quarter last week. That was impressive. We have our hands full and we know that. It’s going to be a true battle, which is what you would expect when there are only eight teams left in the country.”

Eastern enters the game with a 10-2 record after defeating Southeast Missouri 37-17 Saturday (Dec. 4) in the second round. Eastern held the Redhawks to just 26 yards of total offense in the second half and out-score SEMO 20-0 following a 17-all tie at halftime. Buck Buchanan Award candidate J.C. Sherritt led the charge with 10 tackles, including a key fourth-down stop in the second half.

Junior running back Taiwan Jones led the Eagles offensively with 168 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and finished with 211 all-purpose yards. He enters this week’s game ranked fourth in FCS in rushing yards (137.5) and second in all-purpose yards (196.6), ranking only behind Southeast Missouri’s Henry Harris. Harris finished with 191 yards against the Eagles, but 82 of those yards were on three kickoff returns and he was held to minus 1 yard rushing in the second half.

“It was one of those games where it was a total team effort, even more than any game this entire season,” praised Baldwin. “When you look at the plays that were made in this game, there were so many different guys stepping up in different positions. That was especially true in the second half, but even in the first half when things weren’t going perfect. We still found ways to go down and tie it up just before halftime. In the second half, defensively we were getting a lot of stops and really shut them down, and offensively we converted on a lot of drives and ran the football in the fourth quarter extremely well.”

 

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