Courtesy Eastern Washington athletics
It took more than 100 years for the Eastern Washington University football team to earn a rematch with Washington State University in 2012. This time, it will take a mere four years.
Marking the sixth-straight year the Eagles will play a Pac-12 Conference opponent, the Eagles and Cougars have announced a meeting on Sept. 3, 2016, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Wash. The Cougars edged the Eagles 24-20 on Sept. 8, 2012, in the first varsity meeting between the two schools since 1908.
"It's always a fun and unique challenge to play a Pac-12 team, especially one just down the road from us," said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin of the match-up between schools located less than 100 miles apart from each other. "The proximity of the schools adds to the excitement of the game."
Starting with a narrow 30-27 loss to open the 2011 season at Washington, the WSU game will mark the sixth-straight year the Eagles will play an opponent from the Pac-12 Conference. Eastern will play at Washington in 2014 and Oregon in 2015 prior to meeting the Cougars again in 2016.
"We really appreciate (WSU athletic director) Bill Moos and (WSU head coach) Mike Leach providing us the opportunity to play in Pullman again in 2016," said Eastern athletic director Bill Chaves. "The ability for our fan base to watch our team play against local FBS teams over the next four years is such a positive for not only our football program, but for our University as a whole. It's a tremendous platform for us to be on."
Entering this year's Aug. 31 season opener at Oregon State, Eastern has played current Pac-12 members on nine previous occasions. Besides games in 1907, 1908 and 2012 against Washington State, Eastern's only other games versus Pac-12 opponents have been against Oregon State (2000 and 2006), Arizona State (2002), California (2009) and Washington (2011). Eastern has also played recent Pac-12 newcomer Colorado (2008).
Eastern opened the 2011 season at Husky Stadium on Sept. 3, 2011, and will return to the school's renovated stadium on Sept. 6, 2014. The Oregon State game is scheduled for Aug. 31, 2013, and the Oregon game will be played on Sept. 5, 2015, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. Eastern has never played the Ducks.
Eastern was a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for most of its history before becoming a member of FCS in 1984. But despite playing 27 games against NCAA Football Bowl Division members from 1983-2010 -- including four against the Pac-12 Conference -- the Eagles did not play Washington State or Washington during that time span. Eastern had never played Washington until a narrow, 30-27 loss to open the 2011 season.
Including a season-opening 20-3 win at Idaho in 2012, Eastern is now 8-21 all-time versus FBS teams. Besides Oregon State, Eastern also plays at Toledo in the 2013 season.
The short 90-mile trek to Pullman, Wash., to face WSU in 2012 was the first varsity meeting between the two schools in more than 100 years. Eastern lost to the Cougars in 1907 (46-0) and 1908 (73-0), and were 8-10-1 from 1921-46 against WSU's junior varsity or freshman teams.