FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Gage Gubrud threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns and Eastern Washington defeated Northern Arizona 31-26 on Saturday night in a matchup of highly-ranked Big Sky Conference teams in a non-conference game.
The fourth touchdown pass for Gubrud was a 26-yarder to Nsimba Webster late in the third quarter but Webster didn't get credit for his third score. It was determined he was losing possession of the ball as the crossed the goal line and tight end Dre'Sonte Dorton recovered the ball in the end zone. That pushed the lead for EWU (2-0) to 28-13.
Backup quarterback Daniel Bridge-Gadd rallied the Lumberjacks (1-1) with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes but couldn't connected on a 2-point conversion with 1:15 to play. The ensuing kickoff, with the help of a penalty, pinned the Eagles back on the 4 but on the next play Sam McPherson busted up the middle for 94 yards to seal the win. It was the longest non-scoring run in school history and third longest overall.
Three long completions -- Gubrud passed for 203 yards in the first half -- gave the Eagles a 21-10 lead at the break. Webster got behind the NAU defense twice for 62- and 46-yard touchdowns. But first Jayce Gilder gave EWU a 7-0 lead on a 4-yard pass after Andrew Boston had a 46-yard reception to set up the score.
The Lumberjacks lost standout quarterback Case Cookus with an injury late in the first quarter. Bridge-Gadd finished 17 of 29 for 231 yards and three scores.
Gubrud was 18 of 33 with Webster catching seven balls for 176 yards. McPherson had 161 yards on 22 carries.
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