Cheney, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - When the Eastern Washington running game is outproducing the passing offense, and the defense is making big plays, then the Eagles are incredibly tough to beat.
That's because there's only so much an opponent can slow down quarterback Vernon Adams Jr.
He accounted for three touchdowns and the defense matched that number in turnovers as fourth-seeded Eastern Washington eliminated Big Sky Conference rival Montana, 37-20, in an FCS second-round playoff game at "The Inferno" on Saturday.
EWU (11-2), which has won the last three Big Sky titles, will host fifth-seeded Illinois State (11-1) from the Missouri Valley Football Conference in the national quarterfinals next weekend.
The Eagles, who defeated Montana, 36-26, on Nov. 8, never trailed against the Grizzlies (9-5) and controlled the game clock with 212 rushing yards, led by Quincy Forte, who had 128 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
Adams threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Terry Jackson II to open the scoring in the first quarter and a 23-yarder to Cory Mitchell in the third quarter. In between, Adams had a 3-yard touchdown run with nine seconds left in the first half to give EWU a 13-3 halftime lead.
Adams went over 10,000 passing yards in his career, throwing for 182 yards on 24-of-35 passes.
Todd Raynes had two interceptions of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson, including a 40-yard touchdown return with 1:40 left, sealing the win. Mattew Sommer recovered a fumble deep in Grizzlies territory to set up a Tyler McNannay field goal.
Johnson was 18-for-33 for 223 yards in the final game of his career. He threw a 30-yard touchdown to Travon Van, who had nine receptions for 161 yards.
The game was the final one for retiring Montana coach Mick Delaney. Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin has been speculated in the media as a possible replacement.