Eastern Washington University head football coach Beau Baldwin will forever remember his first trip to Lubbock, Texas, and now his Eagles will make a second trip to play at Texas Tech on Sept. 2, 2017 in an announcement made jointly by the two schools on Tuesday.
Eastern played Texas Tech on Aug. 30, 2008, in the Eastern head coaching debut of Baldwin. Eastern lost that game 49-24 to the Red Raiders, who were coached by current Washington State University head coach Mike Leach. The Eagles would go on and finish 6-5 that season, while Texas Tech finished 11-2 and shared the Big 12 title with Oklahoma and Texas.
A year ago, the Eagles finished 12-3 overall and were a perfect 8-0 in the Big Sky Conference for the first time in school history. Eastern opened the season by upsetting No. 25 Oregon State 49-46 in just the fourth-ever victory by a NCAA Football Championship Subdivision school against a ranked member of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.
In 2013, Texas Tech finished 8-5 overall and 4-5 in the Big 12 in Kliff Kingsbury's first season as head coach. The Red Raiders closed the season by upsetting No. 14 Arizona State 37-23 in the Holiday Bowl.
Texas Tech had the second-best passing offense in FBS in 2013, averaging 392.8 yards per game (Fresno State led with an average of 394.8 per game). Eastern ranked fourth in FCS with an average of 349.8 passing yards per game.
Eastern now has games against FBS foes scheduled for every year through 2019. The Eagles will play at Washington on Sept. 6, 2014, in just the second meeting all-time versus the Huskies, then will return to Seattle on Aug. 31, 2019. Next season, Eastern will play Oregon on Sept. 5, 2015, at Autzen Stadium in Eugene in the first-ever meeting between those two schools.
The Eagles also have scheduled games against Washington State for Sept. 3, 2016 and Sept. 15, 2018. Eastern hadn't played the Cougars since 1908 when the two schools met on Sept. 8, 2012, in a narrow, 24-20 WSU victory. The 2016 meeting will mark the sixth-straight year the Eagles will play a Pac-12 Conference opponent.
"We look forward to again playing in Lubbock and in the state of Texas," said Eastern athletic director Bill Chaves. "We have been fortunate to be able to schedule the majority of our FBS games against Pacific Northwest opponents in recent years, but this will allow the program an opportunity to expand its reach while playing a tremendous opponent."
Eastern was a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) for most of its history before becoming a member of FCS in 1984. But despite playing 27 games against NCAA Football Bowl Division members from 1983-2010 -- including four against the Pac-12 Conference -- the Eagles did not play Washington State or Washington during that time span.
Including a season-opening 20-3 win at Idaho in 2012 and a 33-21 loss at Toledo in 2013, Eastern is now 9-22 all-time versus FBS teams.