The Cal State Long Beach 49ers dug themselves another hole Saturday afternoon--the kind they have been digging all season--but this time it was too deep to escape and they were upset, 30-23, by Eastern Washington University.
It was homecoming at Veterans Stadium; the first home game for the 49ers in six weeks. But Long Beach fell on its face, trailing 30-7, before mounting one of its usual comebacks.
But this time it fell short and left Coach Mike Sheppard discouraged about his team's habit of falling behind. He vowed to do something about it.
"I didn't have them prepared well enough," Sheppard said. "Next week we're going to have four full practices in pads.
"We shouldn't have had trouble getting up for a game like this. There's no excuse. Our defense played without emotion, and we're not good enough to play anybody unemotionally."
Eastern Washington, a Division I-AA team that improved its record to 6-1, had plenty of emotion.
The Eagles, led by tailback Jamie Townsend and quarterback Rick Worman, jumped to a 10-0 first-quarter lead.
Townsend rushed for 161 yards in 22 carries. Worman completed 22 of 32 passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns, and his five-yard touchdown run with 1:18 left in the third quarter gave the Eagles a 30-7 lead.
Long Beach came back but not all the way. Quarterback Doug Gaynor scored touchdowns on runs of 1 and 13 yards and each time passed for a two-point conversion to close the deficit to 30-23 with 6:17 left in the game.
The 49ers got a final chance but lost that on a fumble by Martin Sartin on the Eastern Washington 36-yard line with three minutes left.
Worman ran for a first down on a fourth-and-one play to keep the 49ers from getting the ball again.