E. Washington rallies past Idaho to keep FCS playoff hopes alive

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Dennis Merritt ran for three touchdowns and Eric Barriere threw for 309 yards and a pair of scores and No. 9 Eastern Washington rallied to beat Idaho 38-31 on Saturday.

The win avenged the Eagles’ season-opening 28-21 loss against the Vandals in Moscow, Idaho. Eastern Washington (5-1, 5-1 Big Sky Conference) has reeled off five straight wins since its Feb. 27 opener and hasn’t scored fewer than 32 points during the streak.

Despite the win, Eastern Washington will have to wait until April 18 to see whether they’ve done enough to secure one of six at-large bids to the FCS playoffs. Weber State clinched the Big Sky title, edging out Idaho State earlier in the day.

Idaho (2-3, 2-3 Big Sky) will play its final game of the spring season next week at Northern Arizona.

Trailing 31-24 entering the fourth quarter, Merritt ran wide right for a 21-yard touchdown to even the score with 12:41 remaining. The go-ahead score — and eventual winner — came on his 14-yard weave and dash up the middle with 6:50 left.

Vandals redshirt sophomore running back Zach Borisch got the starting nod at quarterback due to injuries. A former all-state quarterback in high school, Borisch threw for 74 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions — both of which came on the Vandals’ final two possessions.

But Borisch’s ground-game effort resulted in 205 yards rushing on 33 carries with a pair of touchdowns, resulting in Idaho holding the ball for 36:23 in its upset bid.