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E. Washington ends Illinois St.’s season

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(AP photo)
Eastern Washington defensive back Jeff Minnerly (left) tries to tackle Illinois State receiver Lechein Neblett during the first half of an FCS quarterfinal Saturday at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.

CHENEY, Wash. – Kyle Padron threw a school-record-tying six touchdown passes, including two to Brandon Kaufman on back-to-back plays early in the third quarter, to lift second-seeded Eastern Washington to a 51-35 win over Illinois State in the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs Saturday evening.

With a 24-17 lead at the half, Padron dropped a perfect pass into Kaufman’s hands at the goal line. Ronnie Hamlin intercepted ISU quarterback Matt Brown on the next play, setting up Padron’s 17-yard strike to Kaufman in the back right corner of the end zone for a 38-17 lead at the 11:01 mark.

Padron completed 19 of 33 passes for 358 yards. Kaufman added a clutch 76-yard catch-and-run early in the fourth quarter after the Redbirds (9-4) had scored 18 straight points to close within 38-35.

The Eagles (11-2), the national champions two seasons ago, host Sam Houston State in a semifinal next weekend.

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