A competitive series

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Preparing for Saturday's opponent presents quite a conundrum for the Montana coaching staff and that's probably what Eastern Washington wanted to occur when they changed starting quarterbacks last weekend.

The Grizzlies return to the red turf in Cheney for the first time since they played the first game on the new surface in 2010.

While Montana has captured 11 of the last 14 games between the rivals, the Eagles prevailed that year 36-27 and went on to win the FCS National Championship.

Maybe the stage was set for how usually competitive games between these two teams would be when the Grizzlies and Eagles played the last football game at Dornblaser Field in 1986.

Montana held on that day 42-37 after an official's controversial call at the end of the game ruled an Eastern receiver bobbled a potential winning scoring pass in the south end zone prompting one of the famous quotes of all-time by then Eagles coach Dick Zornes.

What is it they say - it seems like only yesterday!

And since that fateful Saturday afternoon Montana has won 19 of 26 games between the two including seven of the last 10 and 15 of the last 19.

It's the 11th time in the last 17 years the two teams have been ranked when they face off but the tables are somewhat turned this year since the usually highly regarded Grizzlies stand 20th and Eastern now is the No. 7 team in the country.

SMU transfer quarterback Kyle Padron (say Puh drone) is the league's second highest ranking signal caller but he surprisingly gave way to redshirt freshman Vernon Adams in the win at Weber State last weekend.

But when Adams experienced some cramping, Padron came back to the helm and put the frosting on a 20-3 halftime advantage with an 11 of 17 performance for 149 yards and a TD and a 32-26 Eagle victory.

The two quarterbacks, Padrone who prefers to pass and Adams more of a run threat, are listed as either/or on this week's depth chart so who knows.

It is just the fifth time in school history the Eagles have opened the season with three road games and this is the latest home opener for EWU since 1981.

With the win in Ogden, Eastern now has won six of its last seven league openers and since 1999 are 11-2 in home openers.

With just a four-point loss at Washington State on their ledger, and a win at Idaho, Eastern could well stand unbeaten and are the eighth-highest FCS team - 98th overall - in the Jeff Sagarin computer rankings where Montana stands 15th and 116th overall.

Kickoff is slated at 5:15 p.m. Mountain.

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