Cougs prevail despite shaky offensive effort

A SOLID DEFENSIVE effort anchored a 24-20 win by the Cougars over Eastern Washington when the offense was unsteady at best and injured at worst.

Starting quarterback Jeff Tuel went down with a right-knee injury in the second half after throwing two touchdown passes to sophomore wide receiver Isiah Myers in the first half. In addition to Myers' touchdown receptions for 2 and 17 yards, junior running back Carl Winston added a 1-yard lunge into the end zone in the first quarter.

But it was a 60-yard field goal by junior Andrew Furney with two seconds left in the half that had Cougar Nation going wild.

Connor Halliday's first performance of the season was shaky as he threw some solid passes – and an interception on his first series of the afternoon. A fumble in the end zone and two holding penalties negated a trio of fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Eastern took advantage of bad defensive coverage by junior cornerback Nolan Washington in the first quarter as wide receiver Brandon Kaufman took it back 93 yards down the right sideline to tie the game 7-all. Kaufman caught another touchdown pass with a little more than two minutes left in the game.

Tuel completed 20 of 27 passes for 171 yards and Halliday was 5-of-11 for 76 yards, while Eastern quarterback Kyle Padron completed 26 of 54 for 379 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Play of the game: With Eastern third-and-13 on its own 25, sophomore linebacker Cyrus Cohen intercepted Padron's pass. On the next play, Tuel hit Myers for a 17-yard touchdown pass. The Cougars led for the duration of the game.

Key moment: Furney's 60-yard field goal soared beautifully through the uprights with two seconds left in the half to give the Cougars a 10-point lead.

Key stat: Eastern averaged just 3 yards per carry.

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