CHENEY, Wash. -- Quincy Forte ran for 128 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown, and No. 4 Eastern Washington downed Montana 37-20 in a Division I Football second-round playoff game Saturday at Roos Field.
Forte’s TD, with 3:41 left in the third quarter, put the Eagles up 27-10; they held a two-score lead and put the capper on their fourth straight win over the Griz with a 40-yard interception return by Todd Raynes.
Eastern, 11-2, travels to Illinois State for a quarterfinal game next weekend.
The No. 12 Grizzlies ended up 9-5, losing in Mick Delaney’s final game as head coach. Montana never truly got untracked offensively, though at one point, after Travon Van hauled in a 30-yard touchdown strike from Jordan Johnson, it out-gained the Eagles in total yards.
Van’s TD cut Eastern’s lead to 30-20 with 6:29 left in the game, but Eastern answered with a long possession that ended with an end-zone interception by UM’s Jeremiah Kose, at the 1:57 mark.
Raynes’ interception and touchdown came on Montana’s next snap.
Vernon Adams, Jr., threw for 182 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles, and had a 3-yard scoring run with 9 seconds left in the first half. That capped a clock-eating, 81-yard drive and put Eastern up 13-3.
The junior quarterback then guided Eastern on a 75-yard drive to open the third quarter. Cory Mitchell, open at the end of a double move, hauled in a 23-yard TD pass.
Montana got a little momentum back with a quick score, Jordan Canada taking a handoff 38 yards for his 11 th rushing TD of the season.
But Eastern, deadly on third down, came back with another 75-yard drive. Forte, thought to be Montana mounted another drive but had to settle for a 27-yard field goal from Daniel Sullivan early in the fourth period. Eastern’s Tyler McNannay answered that with a field goal of his own, before Van got his touchdown. Van had nine catches for 161 yards.
Adams had another TD pass in the first quarter, as the Eagles cashed in on Ronnie Hamlin’s blocked punt for a 7-0 lead. On second-and-goal Adams hit Terry Jackson II for 2 yards and the TD, at the 6:53 mark.
Montana’s first two possessions netted no first downs and a holding penalty, but the No. 12 Grizzlies came back with a 64-yard drive to Dan Sullivan’s 28-yard field goal on the final play of the first quarter.
Up until late in the first half, Montana’s defense held up well against an explosive attack. Adams was sacked five times in the first half, three of them by UM’s Zack Wagenmann.
He wasn’t sacked in the second half, though, and ended up gaining 37 yards.
The Griz were trying to avenge a 36-26 loss on Roos Field one month ago, and the Eagles have won four straight home games over the Griz.
Canada finished with 79 yards on just 11 carries. Johnson threw for 223 yards, completing 18 of 33 passes in his final game.