Oct. 15, 2007
Lately, the offense has been stealing the headlines. Last Saturday (Oct. 13) at Woodward Field in Cheney, Wash., Eastern Washington University defensive tackle Lance Witherspoon returned from an injury to steal headlines of his own.
With just 50 tackles in his 23-game career entering the game against 11th-ranked Montana State, Witherspoon had 10 tackles to lead EWU to the convincing 35-13 romp over the Bobcats and earn co-Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors.
Witherspoon returned to his starting position to register a team-high and career-high 10 tackles in the win, which lifted Eastern to a ranking of 22nd in The Sports Network NCAA Football Championship Subdivision poll. He was credited with four unassisted tackles and six assisted stops.
He had one sack for a loss of eight yards, and three other tackles for loss totaling 10 yards. His sack came on third down and led to a MSU punt with Eastern leading 28-13 in the third quarter.
Witherspoon, who missed one full game and parts of two others with a high ankle sprain, led the defensive charge as Eastern out-gained MSU 475-315 in total offense. In the second half, the Eagles had a 248-101 advantage as they scored the final 21 points of the game.
"It's nice to have Lance back -- we have missed him for awhile now and it hurts our defense not having him," said EWU head coach Paul Wulff of the junior from Federal Way, Wash. "Having him back, we are a better defense."
The Bobcats finished with just 22 rushing yards, including a season-high five sacks recorded by Eastern's defensive line. Junior defensive ends Greg Peach and Jason Belford had 2 1/2 and 1 1/2, respectively. Including Witherspoon, that trio had 20 total tackles and accounted for all five sacks.
For the season, Witherspoon has 17 tackles with one sack and six total tackles for losses. In his 24-game career he has 60 tackles with 3 1/2 sacks and 13 1/2 total tackles for losses. His previous career high for tackles came in 2006 against Northern Colorado with six.
He has started 11 games as an Eagle and is a 2004 graduate of Decatur High School in Federal Way.