Eastern Washington's QB derby is ongoing

(STATS) - Eastern Washington led the FCS in passing yards per game and the key quarterbacks are back.

The Eagles are just trying to determine which one among three will open the season as the starter.

Jordan West and Reilly Hennessey had plenty of good outings last year, but not enough as EWU slumped to 6-5 after winning three straight Big Sky Conference titles. This spring, sophomore Gage Gubrud, who offers more of a mobile dimension than West and Hennessey, has sprung into the mix, deepening the scenario heading toward preseason camp.

The Eagles held their annual Red-White intrasquad game Saturday and Gubrud led the way among the signal callers. He completed 25 of 34 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown with one interception.

Hennessey, who made two starts last season, was 5 of 8 for 70 yards and a touchdown with an interception. West, who started nine times, was 9 of 12 for 69 yards and a touchdown.

"There is no reason we couldn't win football games with any one of those three players," ninth-year coach Beau Baldwin said. "I believe that, and I believed that last year. And now they are all a year older.

"If you remember us last spring, I came out of last spring feeling like Gage is right there in the mix. I still believe that today. It wouldn't matter - whichever quarterback was playing I would feel like could lead our team. It's a tough battle and it's a tough position."

Simba Webster caught six passes for 63 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown from Gubrud. His twin brother Nzuzi Webster had the game's defensive highlight, scoring a touchdown on a 100-yard interception return.

The Eagles will have 56 letter winners returning, including five starters on offense and nine on defense. Senior wide receiver Cooper Kupp, the 2015 STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year, figures to shatter most FCS career receiving records by season's end. The defense features seniors Samson Ebukam (end) and Matthew Sommer (tackle) coming off all-conference second-team honors.

Spring practices will conclude next week. The Eagles will kick off the 2016 season by making a short trip to Washington State on Sept. 3.

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