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SEVEN INTERCEPTIONS DROWN WILDCATS
EWU SPOILS HOMECOMING, MARTIN’S START

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EWU SPOILS HOMECOMING, MARTIN’S START

Thirteen seconds into the game, Weber State knew it was in trouble. The only thing the Wildcats didn't realize is that things would get worse, as Eastern Washington spoiled the 'Cat homecoming 27-10.

It would be the turnovers that would tell the tale, Eastern Washington being the national I-AA leader in takeaways (+17) and adding +4 more to its reputation.Weber tossed seven interceptions on the day to take the thunder out of its generally potent passing game. Coach Dave Arslanian credited pressure from EWU defenders for causing most of the damage but acknowledged that freshman quarterback Jamie Martin's inexperience - it was his first start, and he threw six of the picks - was probably a factor.

He also noted that Weber seems jinxed against the Eagles, spotting EWU easy points. Last year EWU jumped off to an early lead with an opening-kick touchdown run.

But Arslanian said it was also a case of Weber simply not playing good football. "A lot was taken out of our team early in the season, and we just haven't gotten the spark back. We're just not a very good football team right now."

EWU's Dominic Corr took the opening kickoff at the Eagle goal line, found a wall on the right side of the field and raced 100 yards for a touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead with the extra point.

Weber's Maurice Jackson almost duplicated the effort on the ensuing kick but failed to elude the last Eagle defender and was tripped up at the Weber 41. The Wildcats needed nine plays to cover the remaining 59 yards, scoring on a 9-yard pass from Martin to flanker Rob Trebilcock. With the kick it was 7-7 with less than four minutes gone in the contest.

Eastern Washington answered right back, driving 68 yards before having to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Jason Cromer and a 10-7 Eagle lead with 7:00 remaining.

While neither team managed to score again in the first quarter, the pattern of the game began to assert itself.

Weber was forced to punt and then forced an EWU fumble at the Eagle 24. The Wildcats moved quickly to the EWU 8, but Eagle linebacker D.J. Sigurdson picked off the first of the seven interceptions, this one in the end zone, to kill the Weber drive.

After forcing an Eagle punt on the next series, Weber moved out to its own 40, where Martin threw his second interception as Quinton Blythe picked the toss at the Eagle 39. It was the first of his three interceptions. But, the Eagles could not make good on the turnover.

Weber managed its final score a few minutes later after turning back a fourth-and-one effort by the Eagles at the Weber 40. Weber drove the ball down to the Eagle 28, where Greg Patterson booted a 46-yard field goal to tie the game at 10-10 with 2:17 remaining in the half.

Weber forced a quick punt to get the ball back with just over 1:30 remaining. But on the first play from scrimmage, EWU defensive end Aaron Hansen made a spectacular one-handed interception while falling backward at the Weber 35. Four plays later, quarterback Mark Tenneson found Jamie Buenzli in the corner of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown toss and a 17-10 halftime lead for the Eagles.

EWU picked up right where it left off in the second half, intercepting Martin for a fourth time on the opening series of the second half as cornerback Kurt Schulz stepped in front of a sideline pass. The Eagles used 14 plays capped by Cromer's second field goal of the day, a 30-yarder for a 20-10 lead.

Despite Martin's six interceptions, Arslanian indicated the freshman would likely be the starter next Saturday. He said the only way to give Martin experience is to put him on the field and see what he can do.

Weber falls to 1-8 on the season and 0-7 in Big Sky play. It faces Southwest State University (Minnesota) next week in the last home game of 1989. Eastern Washington is 4-4 on the season and 4-3 in the conference as it heads to Boise State Saturday.