Eastern Washington will play for the FCS championship on Jan. 7 after dispatching the Villanova Wildcats at Spokane’s Roos Field, 41-31. With the Wildcats just a field goal behind, Eastern put together a drive to remember, capped by a Bo Levi Mitchell touchdown pass to Greg Herd on fourth down. Twice the Eagles were faced with fourth down in Villanova territory. Instead of opting for a field goal, the Eagles went for it both times, barely converting on the first and punching it into the end zone on the second.
Mitchell had an outstanding day, throwing for 292 yards and four touchdowns while completing 27 of 38 yards. In the absence of All-American Taiwan Jones, Mario Brown picked up the slack, rushing for 104 yards on 26 carries. Brandon Kaufman caught eight passes for 135 yards and a touchdown while Nicholas Edwards added two first half touchdown catches.
Villanova put up one heck of a fight, but couldn’t overcome six turnovers, four of which came on fumbles. Quarterback Chris Whitney rushed for two touchdowns, but threw for just 95 yards and two interceptions on the day. Matt Szczur also added a rushing touchdown and Angelo Babbaro provided a spark from the start, returning the opening kickoff 86 yards for the touchdown.
Top-ranked Eastern Washington, undefeated on its eye-popping red turf at Roos Field, will travel to Texas for the FCS finals on Jan. 7. The Eagles will face either Georgia Southern or Delaware.