Defense stands out in final EWU scrimmage

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CHENEY — The Eastern Washington University defense had a banner day in the final scrimmage of preseason practices, holding a shorthanded offense to 196 yards in a 65-play scrimmage Saturday at Roos Field.

The defense had eight passes broken up and five quick-whistle sacks in holding EWU offensive units to 28 yards on the ground and 168 through the air. The offense played without quarterback and Walter Payton Award candidate Eric Barriere, as well as a quartet of All-Big Sky Conference offensive linemen, but did have a clean afternoon with no turnovers.

In 17 possessions, the offense scored only twice — an 11-yard touchdown pass from Gunner Talkington to Johnny Edwards IV, and a 37-yard field goal by Andre Slyter. Eastern’s new placekicker in 2019, Slyter made field goals of 45 and 43 yards in a scrimmage on Aug. 17.

Hometown product Ty Graham, who will redshirt the 2019 season, paved the way with eight tackles, including a sack. The safety is a transfer from Idaho and 2016 graduate of Cheney High.

Safeties Tysen Prunty and Dehonta Hayes each had three tackles and a pass broken up, and linebacker Justin Patterson had four tackles with a sack.

With Barriere out, Talkington, Kellen Krance and true freshman Trey Turner combined to complete 16 of 31 passes for 168 yards. Minus five sacks for 29 yards in losses, EWU rushed for 57 yards. Redshirt freshman Isaiah Lewis had 21 yards on 11 carries and senior Dennis Merritt added 15 on five.

The Eagles open their season at Washington on Saturday.

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