Big Sky Conference

West earns national honor after dominating Bobcats

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Jordan West put all doubters to rest on Saturday afternoon.

Eastern Washington’s new quarterback took over for two-time reigning Big Sky Conference Offensive Most Valuable Player Vernon Adams in the off-season. Adams transferred to the University of Oregon. West threw for more than 300 yards and six total touchdowns in EWU’s first two games but the Eagles lost two straight to begin the season.

On Saturday in Cheney, West was nearly perfect. He completed 21 of 24 passes for 410 yards and six touchdowns in EWU’s 55-50 win over Montana State. West orchestrated an offense that notched 16 plays of more than 30 yards, including 10 of more than 29 in the passing game. Of West’s five completions of less than 15 yards, four were screen passes and one was a shovel pass for a touchdown from the 2-yard line set up by a 62-yard Jabari Wilson run. West did not throw an incompletion after the first quarter. West had an efficiency rating of 310.4, a school record. He now leads the FCS in passing yards (1,052), touchdowns (12), points responsible for (72) and passer efficiency rating (220.7).

On Monday, West was named the FCS STATS National Offensive Player of the Week along with the Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

“He showed some great things before this game even going back to last year, but he obviously took it to another level against Montana State,” EWU coach Beau Baldwin said in an EWU press release. “He had a real calmness and comfort out there. Forget all the stats, he looked the most poised when he stood in that pocket.”

EWU plays at Sacramento State on Saturday.

Weber State safety Juwain Harrison won the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week and Weber State kicker/punter Josh Kealamakia won the Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week.

Harrison, who was starting in place of Mitch Tulane, had three interceptions in Saturday’s 32-14 Weber win over Sacramento State. The three picks were the first three of his career. Harrison had two interceptions in the first quarter and had a third in the third quarter which he returned 37 yards. The three interceptions is tied for the second most in a game in WSU history and is the most picks in a game since 2008. The victory was Weber’s first this season. The contest was a non-conference affair.

Kealamakia, who serves as both punter and placekicker for Weber State, was 4-of-4 on field goals in Saturday’s win. He knocked down field goals of 37 yards, 45 yards, 38 yards and a career long 48 yards. He also had eight kickoffs with five touchbacks and had three punts for an average of 40.7 yards per punt. The four field goals is tied for the second most in a game in WSU history and is the most in a game since 2004.

Other nominees for ROOT Sports Offensive Player of the Week: Dakota Prukop, Montana State; Chris Brown, Cal Poly; Chris Martin, UC Davis; Stephen Miller, Northern Colorado; Cameron Livingston, Weber State; Ammon Olsen, Southern Utah; Madison Mangum, Idaho State; and Jamaal Jones, Montana.

Other nominees for Defensive Player of the Week: Alex Kacmarcik, Eastern Washington; Thomas Singleton, Northern Colorado; Will Ratelle, North Dakota; Mike Needham, Southern Utah; Tyler Kuder, Idaho State; Darnell Sankey, Sacramento State; and Tyrone Holmes, Montana.

Other nominees for Root Sports Special Teams Player of the Week: Colby Wadman, UC Davis; Tyler McNannay, Eastern Washington; Mitch Meindel, North Dakota; Tate Lewis, Southern Utah; and Chris Lider, Montana.

About Colter Nuanez

Colter Nuanez is the co-founder and senior writer for Skyline Sports. After spending six years in the newspaper industry with stops at the Missoulian, the Ellensburg Daily Record and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the former Washington Newspaper Association Sportswriter of the Year and University of Montana Journalism School graduate ('09) has cultivated a deep passion for sports journalism during his 13-year career covering the Big Sky Conference. In August of 2014, Colter and brother Brooks merged their passions of writing and art to found Skyline Sports.

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