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Glorious homecoming for EWU's Mitchell

By Andrew Gaddess, FCS Assistant

Frisco, TX (Sports Network) - Friday night, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden made a rare visit to Frisco, Texas.

The University of Delaware alumnus' trip proved to be in vain, however, as his Blue Hens fell, 20-19, to Eastern Washington in the Football Championship Subdivision title game.

Biden's attendance added a certain cache to the event. Local newscasters documented his arrival as secret service agents moved stolidly through the mass of tailgating fans. On this night, though, the V.P. was overshadowed by Eastern Washington and M.O.P Bo Levi Mitchell, who guided the Eagles to a stunning comeback victory.

Mitchell, who has a penchant for late-game heroics, earned the game's Most Outstanding Player award after throwing a touchdown pass on three straight EWU possessions.

"I've watched (Mitchell) have a bad game all the way up until two minutes left, when the snow is coming down and he has to go 90 yards and we've always had confidence in him," explained Eastern Washington senior linebacker J.C. Sherritt. "Our defense doesn't panic because we know (the offense is) going to get it going eventually, just like they did tonight. When they had to come through, they did, just like they have all year."

The 90-yard drive Sherritt referred to isn't a mere hypothetical.

Bo Levi Mitchell earned the game's Most Outstanding Player award after throwing a touchdown pass on three straight EWU possessions.
In the Eagles' quarterfinal win over North Dakota State, Mitchell led a 13- play, 90-yard touchdown drive to knot the game at 31-31 with 23 seconds remaining. On the first play of overtime, he tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass in the 38-31 win. Mitchell had thrown for just 38 yards prior to the game-tying drive.

Friday night, the task was tougher, but again Mitchell was up to the challenge.

Eastern Washington began to chip away at Delaware's 19-0 lead late in the third quarter, culminating a five-play, 80-yard drive with a touchdown strike from Mitchell to wide receiver Brandon Kaufman.

"After I scored my touchdown, I looked back at Bo and he wasn't sprinting over," Kaufman said. "He wasn't making - he wasn't going crazy. He just looked me in the eye and shook his head and I knew for a fact that we were going to go back and we were going to come back on them. Bo was going to lead us, and that's what we did."

On the Eagles' next possession, Mitchell's poise was again on display, as he led a textbook, 14-play, 89-yard drive, finding Nicholas Edwards from nine yards out with 8:16 remaining.

The game-winning score came shortly thereafter, as Mitchell again found Kaufman in the back of the end zone. Mike Jarrett's PAT was the decisive point in the 20-19 margin.

"He put the ball in the perfect spot," said Kaufman.

In all, Mitchell, a SMU transfer who is in his first season with Eastern Washington, completed 29-of-43 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns. He finished with 37 TD passes this season.

"We came out and the team did what we had to do," said the newly appointed Most Outstanding Player. "My balls weren't perfect, they weren't. (The receivers) made plays and did what they had to do and we won the game because of them. Thank you to everyone who got me here and taught me how to do what I do."

Mitchell rightly credits his receivers, but Friday night he turned in a performance that even the begrudging Vice President of the United States should be proud of.

Sacks or scores, contact Andrew Gaddess at
agaddess@sportsnetwork.com.



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