Eastern Washington will need everyone on board when they play in Saturday's FCS semifinal game against Sam Houston State. That is because the Bearkats are intimately familiar with EWU's common opponents in the Big Sky.
Sam Houston State beat both Cal Poly and Montana State this season. So did Eastern Washington, so you can bet both programs will look at a lot of film from those games to get an idea on how to handle each other's tendencies.
"For [Sam Houston State] to get wins against both of those opponents, we know how tough it's going to be," said coach Beau Baldwin. "But I think it does help a little bit – you get a little comparison, as opposed to an Illinois State, where there wasn't that comparison."
Of course, you can only look at so much film and make so many comparisons. When gameday rolls around, it will still be a game with different plays and different players.
"Every game is going to be different," said quarterback Kyle Padron. "This game is going to be a dogfight for us. It seems like every game we've played here is pretty close. At the end of the day it's the last game. Whoever wins is going to Frisco and they're going to give us their best shot. And same for us."
Sam Houston State was the underdog going into last weekend's quarterfinal game against Montana State. They pulled off a monumental upset, beating the Bobcats 34-16 by scoring 17 points in the second quarter.
The winner of Saturday's game in Cheney will advance to play either Georgia Southern or No. 1 North Dakota State in the FCS championship game January 5 in Frisco, Texas at FC Dallas Stadium.