On National TV Friday, Erik Meyer and Raul Vijil Rekindle Passing Connection

Meyer to make his starting debut Friday night when the Spokane Shock host the Philadelphia Soul on the NFL Network

From 2002-05, the Erik Meyer to Raul Vijil passing combination at Eastern Washington University was extremely productive with 112 hook-ups.

Friday (June 10), with a national television audience looking on, that connection will be rekindled when Meyer makes his starting debut for the Spokane Shock in an Arena Football League game in Spokane, Wash.

Kickoff is 5 p.m. Pacific time in a game that will be televised live by the NFL Network. It is also available via broadcast on 700-AM ESPN "The Ticket" and via the web at www.espnnorthwest.com.

Recently, the Shock acquired Meyer from the Utah Blaze, and Vijil has been with the franchise since the inception of the team in 2006. In making his first career start in the AFL, Meyer is taking the place of injured Spokane starter Kyle Rowley.

In 2010, as Rowley's backup in Spokane. Meyer played in two games and completed 18-of-28 passes for 274 yards and five touchdowns. Meyer and Vijil hooked-up several times in those games, including a 31-yard TD pass against Utah in a 77-28 victory.

Meyer then signed with the Blaze in September of 2010 and did not throw a pass this season as the backup to Tommy Grady.

While at Eastern, they helped the Eagles win back-to-back Big Sky Conference titles in 2004 and 2005. Both players appeared in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs twice, and Meyer won 2005 Walter Payton Award, which is given to the top player in the FCS.

 

Meyer-to-Vijil Magic at Eastern from 2002-05

The Meyer-to- Vijil passing combination at Eastern yielded 112 catches for 1,777 yards and 10 touchdowns. Both made their Eastern debuts against Arizona State on Aug. 31, 2002, and the first career catch for Vijil and the first career completion for Meyer came in that game on a 5-yard hook-up. Vijil caught three passes from Meyer that season, seven in 2003 and 30 in 2004 when they had their first connection for a touchdown. That TD gave EWU a 21-0 lead versus 16th-ranked Northern Arizona on Oct. 9, 2004, en route to a 45-14 romp. Meyer completed 19-of-21 passes for a school-record .905 completion percentage in that game.

All 72 of Vijil's catches as a senior in 2005 came on passes from Meyer. They connected 10 times in their final appearance together, a 41-38 loss to Northern Iowa in the first round of the FCS Playoffs on Nov. 26, 2005. Vijil's 10 catches in that game still ranks as the 15th-most in school history, as he finished with 150 yards and touchdown catches of 13 and 29 yards from Meyer. The final TD of the season for EWU was their 29-yarder, and appropriately enough, the final catch and completion for either player was to each other. Trailing 41-38, they connected for a 12-yard gain before turning the ball over on downs to end EWU's season and their illustrious careers.

Vijil finished his 44-game EWU career with 129 receptions for 1,966 yards and 10 touchdowns, including 72 catches for 1,080 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior in 2005 to earn second team All-Big Sky Conference honors. His 72 receptions currently ranks as the sixth-most in school history (third at the time), and his 1,080 yards are sixth (fourth then). He is just out of the top 15 on EWU's all-time receptions lists and the top 10 in yardage.

Meyer was a two-time All-American at EWU and was named the Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior. Meyer became just the 12th player in FCS history to throw for at least 4,000 yards in a single season (he finished with 4,003 in 2005). He also had 30 touchdowns, just five interceptions and a passing efficiency rating of 169.3. With a completion percentage of .657, 10,261 yards, 84 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions in 42 career games, Meyer broke the FCS record for efficiency rating by quarterbacks with at least 400 completions with a rating of 166.47. Meyer became just the 17th player in FCS history to pass for more than 10,000 yards in his career. He still holds the school's career record for passing efficiency, and at one time held records for attempts, completions, yards and touchdown passes that were broken by Matt Nichols (996-of-1608 for 12,616 yards and 96 touchdowns from 2006-09). Meyer also held the team's total offense record with 10,942 yards, but that was broken by the 13,308 of Nichols. Meyer holds all three school records for completion percentage -- 90.5 percent versus Northern Arizona on 10/9/04, 67.8 percent in 2004 and 65.7 percent in his career. Meyer also holds the single season efficiency record at 171.4 in 2004, a year before he also set school records that still stand with 4,003 passing yards and 333.6 yards per game.

Both Meyer and Vijil were selected to Eastern's "100 for 100" All-Time Team in 2008, and a public vote selected Meyer as the top quarterback in school history.

 

Professional Careers of Meyer and Vijil . . .

Erik Meyer – Quarterback – EWU Letter Winner 2002-03-04-05
Originally signed a contract with Cincinnati of the NFL in 2006.

Meyer, the 2005 Walter Payton Award winner, is now playing  with the Spokane Shock in the Arena Football League. He was a backup in 2010 for Spokane and played in two games, completing 18 of 28 passes for 274 yards and five touchdowns. The Shock went on to win the AFL Championship -- its third league title in the team's five-year existence. Included was a 31-yard TD pass to former Eastern teammate Raul Vijil against Utah in a 77-28 victory. Meyer then signed with the Utah Blaze for the 2011 season, but did not throw a pass before being traded back to Spokane in June 2011. Previously, he signed on Feb. 25, 2009, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL but was released on May 27. In 2008, he was signed and released by the Oakland Raiders after missing the 2007 NFL season to recover from a broken leg suffered just after he was signed and released by the Seattle Seahawks. He played in spring and summer 2007 for the Cologne Centurions in NFL Europa, taking over as the starter in the third game of the season and helping the team to a 6-4 record. He completed 68.8 percent of his passes to set a NFL Europa record that will never be broken (the NFL decided to cease existence of the league shortly after the season). He ranked second among NFLE quarterbacks with a passer rating of 101.1. He completed 141-of-241 passes for 1,612 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. Meyer also added 138 rushing yards and one touchdown. He was NFL Europa's Player of the Week after his performance for the Cologne Centurions in a key victory over the Amsterdam Admirals on June 9. He completed 21-of-29 passes for 287 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions during Cologne's 31-13 victory. That performance gave him a league-best quarterback rating of 138.1 in the game, edging his previous league-best performance of 136.9 earlier that season against Berlin. He earned the starting position in week three with a 14-6 victory over the Rhein Fire. At the time, the win moved the Centurions into second place in the standings behind the defending champion Frankfurt Galaxy. He helped fuel a 20-17 comeback victory over Rhein after being down with just over 20 minutes left in the game. He originally signed a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006 but was released. Meyer was a two-time All-American at EWU and was named the Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior. Meyer became just the 12th player in FCS history to throw for at least 4,000 yards in a single season (he finished with 4,003 in 2005). He also had 30 touchdowns, just five interceptions and a passing efficiency rating of 169.3. With a completion percentage of .657, 10,261 yards, 84 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions in 42 career games, Meyer broke the FCS record for efficiency rating by quarterbacks with at least 400 completions with a rating of 166.47. Meyer became just the 17th player in FCS history to pass for more than 10,000 yards in his career. He still holds the school's career record for passing efficiency, and at one time held records for attempts, completions, yards and touchdown passes that were broken by Matt Nichols (2006-09), who was 996-of-1608 for 12,616 yards and 96 touchdowns in his career. Meyer also held the team's total offense record with 10,942 yards, but that was broken by the 13,308 of Nichols. Meyer holds all three school records for completion percentage -- 90.5 percent versus Northern Arizona on 10/9/04, 67.8 percent in 2004 and 65.7 percent in his career. Meyer also holds the single season efficiency record at 171.4 in 2004, a year before he also set school records that still stand with 4,003 passing yards and 333.6 yards per game. Eastern selected him to its "100 for 100" All-Time Team in 2008, and a public vote selected Meyer as the top quarterback in school history.

 

Raul Vijil – Wide Receiver – EWU Letter Winner 2002-03-04-05
Originally signed a contract with the Spokane Shock of af2 in 2006.

Vijil has played for the Spokane Shock in af2 all six seasons the team has been in existence, earning first team All-af2 honors in 2007, 2008 and 2009. He has caught nearly 500 regular season passes and scored more than 170 touchdowns while helping Spokane to an all-time record of 86-20 through the first 11 games of the 2011 season. Although a knee injury kept Vijil sidelined for the last nine games of the 2010 season, the Shock finished 16-3 and won the AFL title -- its third championship in the franchise's short, five-year history. In the first 73 regular season games of his career (through games of May 28, 2011), he has 487 catches for 5,567 yards and 151 touchdowns, with another 23 touchdowns scored via rushing or returns and a career total of 9,209 all-purpose yards. Through Spokane's first 11 games of the 2011 season, Vijil played in nine of those contests and had 66 catches for 715 yards and 20 touchdowns, with a total of 723 all-purpose yards and one more score via a kickoff return. In the 10 games he played in the 2011 season, Vijil caught 82 passes for 1,083 yards and 33 touchdowns, and also had 541 yards and a touchdown in 28 kick returns. In 2009, Vijil led the Shock to a final record of 19-1 (15-1 in the regular season) and the af2 title. He caught 116 passes for 1,415 yards and 36 touchdowns in the 15 regular season games he played. He also had 54 kick returns for 1,119 yards and another touchdown, and five rushes for three yards and two more scores. In four playoff games, he had 28 catches for 284 yards and four TDs, four kick returns for 94 yards and three rushes for seven yards and another score. He finished 14 games in the 2008 regular season with 107 catches for 1,112 yards and 35 touchdowns, with 42 total TDs. He added 35 catches for 426 yards and nine more touchdowns in four playoff games. He was plagued by injuries in 2007, but finished with 57 catches for 616 yards and 15 touchdowns, scoring a total of 16 touchdowns in nine games. He and four other former Eagles helped lead the 2006 team to a 17-2 record and the af2 title in Spokane's inaugural season in the league. In 16 regular season games as a rookie in 2006, Vijil scored 22 touchdowns, with 59 catches for 626 yards and 12 scores. He was the team's leading rusher with 30 carries for 68 yards and 10 TDs, and he added 24 1/2 total tackles and four passes broken up. Vijil finished his 44-game EWU career with 129 receptions for 1,966 yards and 10 touchdowns, including 72 catches for 1,080 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior in 2005 to earn second team All-Big Sky Conference honors. His 72 receptions currently ranks as the sixth-most in school history (third at the time), and his 1,080 yards are sixth (fourth then). He is just out of the top 15 on EWU's all-time receptions lists and the top 10 in yardage. Eastern selected him to its "100 for 100" All-Time Team in 2008.

 

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