EWU barely lost to Washington State 24-20 last year. The year before, they all but pulled off the upset at Washington in a 30-27 loss. In both games, the Husky game in particular, Eastern decisively won the total yards battle -- (EWU 469 – WSU 355); (EWU 504 – UW 250).
So no, Oregon State probably shouldn't have been a 28-point favorite against a team picked again to challenge for the FCS national title.
But they sure as heck should have been a double-digit point favorite. Easily. And they should have been able to win. Handily.
But there was Eastern QB Vernon Adams on Saturday. The sophomore completed 23-of-30 passes for 411 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing 16 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
Defense is a team game but the veteran Beaver secondary, a unit stacked deep, played like it was their first time on the field together. The gaps allowed over the back 40 were big enough for sea vessels.
When Tyrequek Zimmerman early on took a bad angle and allowed a ballcarrier to break off a big chunk of yardage, you knew something was off. Zimmerman is usually a sure, hard tackler.
And it only got worse.
MEANWHILE, THE D-TACKLES, supposedly the soft spot of the Beaver D, played better than expected. They weren't world beaters, but they weren't a big liability either.
Mana Rosa posted six stops, and pretty soon the Eagles realized he wasn't going anywhere.
And so they sought hashes elsewhere, and they found them. The rest of the defense, save for Michael Doctor (11 tackles) and Jabral Johnson (9 tackles in his first start), was simply too quiet and for too long.
The Beaver D looked unprepared at times, trying to defend the read options, the pistol and sprint formations Eastern threw at them.
DE Scott Crichton had all of two stops. This is a guy who has All-America talent. But on Saturday, he and so many of his fellow defensemen were ornamental. Eastern racked up a staggering 625 yards of total offense against the Beavers.
That's not a misprint.
And it will lead to a week of soul searching for the Beaver D before Oregon State hosts Hawaii next Saturday (5 p.m. / Pac-12 Networks).
This was not a repeat of OSU's loss to Sac State in 2011. That wasn't a very good team, and neither were the Beavs. But this one might sting more. And it certainly will for a Beaver secondary that came in thinking they were to going to rule the roost, only to find someone let the barn door open.
We'll have more a little later on...