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NFC Championship guarantees Inland Northwest ties in Super Bowl

Both the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers have players with ties to the Inland Northwest.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The NFC Championship is set. The Los Angeles Rams will host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, January 30th. The game will take place at 3:30 on Fox.

Both teams have players with ties to the Inland Northwest. 

The Rams with Eastern Washington alum wide receiver Cooper Kupp and the 49ers with fellow EWU alum defensive end Samson Ebukam and Washington State alum wide receiver River Cracraft. 

Last year, former WSU linebacker Deone Bucannon won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bucannon became the first player with ties to the Inland Northwest to win a Super Bowl since his former WSU teammate Destiny Vaeao won it with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018. 

Cooper Kupp - Los Angeles Rams Wide Receiver

Credit: AP
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (10) scores past Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis III (24) on a 70-yard touchdown reception during the first half of an NFL divisional round playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

Kupp enjoyed a historical season in 2021 where he won the NFL's triple crown by leading the league in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947), and receiving touchdowns (16).

In his five year NFL career, Kupp has 433 receptions, 5,517 receiving yards, and 40 receiving touchdowns.

While Kupp was at EWU, he won the Walter Payton Award, given to the FCS' top offensive players in 2016. Kupp was dominant in his four years with the Eags and broke the FCS' career receiving yards record and receptions record his senior year. Kupp finished his career with 6,464 yards on 428 career receptions. The previous record for receptions was 395 and receiving yards was 5,250. Kupp also obliterated the career receiving touchdowns record with 73 receiving touchdowns. The previous record was 58.  

Kupp was selected in the third round with the 66th pick by the Rams in 2017. Kupp is also a Washington native and hails from Yakima.  

Samson Ebukam - San Francisco 49ers Defensive End

Credit: AP
San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Samson Ebukam is pictured during an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 30-23. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Ebukam tied a career-high in sacks with 4.5 in 2021 playing for the 49ers, one of which came against Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Divisional semifinals. He also had 38 tackles and five tackles for loss. He played in all 17 of the 49ers regular season games where he started 11.

In his five year career in the NFL, Ebukam has 18.5 sacks, 188 tackles, and 21 tackles for loss.

Ebukam played at Eastern Washington from 2013-16 where he had 24 sacks (Ranked 6th in EWU history) and 188 tackles. He received second-team All-Big Sky honors in both 2014 and 2015, and first team accolades in 2016. He was also named a second team Freshman All-America selection in 2013. 

Ebukam was a 4th round selection in the 2017 NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams with the 125th pick.  

River Cracraft - San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver/Special Teams

Credit: AP
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver River Cracraft (86) against the Green Bay Packers during an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Cracraft, a wide receiver, has spent his 2021 season as a part of the 49ers special teams unit. He's played in six games and had three tackles in the regular season. 

Cracraft is in his fourth season in the NFL and his second with the 49ers. He's bounced around in and out of the league making several practice squads. However, this is his year being able to stick on a team's 53-man roster for the full season. Over his career he has 7 receptions for 85 yards and 17 kick/punt returns for 80 yards. He's also recorded five tackles, a forced fumble, and fumble recovery. 

While at Washington State from 2013-16, Cracraft had 218 receptions, 2,701 receiving yards, and 20 receiving touchdowns. He earned an All-Pac-12 Conference honorable mention in his senior year where he had 53 receptions, 701 receiving yards, and five touchdown catches. 

In his junior season, Cracraft was named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List after finishing sixth in the Pac-12 with 5.3 receptions per game with 53 total, 615 yards receiving, and four receiving touchdowns in nine games.  

Cracraft was an undrafted free agent signing in 2017 with the Denver Broncos.