EWU–UM Governors Cup
|First meeting||September 24, 1938
80 years ago
|Latest meeting||September 23, 2017
Eastern Washington, 48–41
|Next meeting||October 26, 2019, in Missoula|
|Trophy||The Governors' Cup (since 1998)|
|All-time series||Montana leads,
|Largest victory||Montana, 63–7 (1995)|
|Longest win streak||4, Montana (four times)
Eastern Washington (once)
|Current win streak||Eastern Washington, 2 (2016– )|
The EWU–UM Governors Cup is the college football rivalry game between the University of Montana Grizzlies and the Eastern Washington University Eagles, both members of the Big Sky Conference in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
The Governors Cup is a very intense and heated rivalry, with the winner often the eventual conference champion.
Since 2009, the game has sold out and its winner has advanced to the FCS playoffs. It is usually played in the mid-season in October, alternating between Roos Field and Washington–Grizzly Stadium. In the 1980s and from 1998 to 2002, EWU hosted the Montana game at Spokane's Joe Albi Stadium.
Montana leads in the overall rivalry with 27 wins, 17 losses, and a tie. The first seven meetings were held before 1951; Montana was a member of the Pacific Coast Conference through the 1949 season. Of the first seven games, two were played in eastern Washington, both at night: the 1947 game was in Spokane at Gonzaga Stadium, which was soon deemed unsafe, and the 1950 game was in Cheney. The 1948 game was Eastern's only win in the early series, played in Great Falls. Following the 1950 game, the teams did not meet for three decades, renewing the series in 1980.
Eastern joined the NCAA in 1978 in Division II, moved up to Division I-AA in 1984, and joined the Big Sky in 1987. The only one tie was in 1984, when it was a non-conference contest; the Big Sky introduced overtime for conference games in 1980.
The Governor's Cup debuted 34 years ago in 1984 and was originally between EWU and the University of Idaho Vandals of Moscow. Eastern pulled off a seven-point upset at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane, with chief executives John Spellman and John Evans in attendance. Idaho's last year in the Big Sky was 1995 and the two played annually in mid-season through 1997; the non-conference series continued for two more years, in the season openers in early September. The game with Montana in October became the Governors Cup in 1998, and was played at Joe Albi.
As part of the scheduling of Big Sky Conference games, each school has traditionally played two opponents every year as a rival. Eastern's current rivals are Montana and Portland State, however, with the return of Idaho to the Big Sky Conference for football in 2018, that will change to the Vandals and Portland State, with Montana becoming Idaho's second rival. This change will begin in the 2018 season, meaning EWU will not play a regular season game versus Montana in 2018 for the first time since 1982, and the two teams will no longer be guaranteed to play each other on an annual basis.
|Eastern Washington victories||Montana victories||Tie games|
A FCS 2nd round playoff game
- First game designated as Governors Cup was in 1998
- Two games in 2014, both won by Eastern.
- Only tie was in 1984; Big Sky enacted overtime for conference games in 1980; all Division I games went to overtime in 1996.
- Two games in 2014, regular season and FCS playoffs, both in Cheney and both won by Eastern
- No game in 1982
- Eastern started conference play in 1987, and first Governors Cup against Montana was in 1998
With more than 2,000 bleacher seats added, record crowds of 11,702 in 2010 and 11,583 in 2006 attended the showdowns with Montana, the most recent match up in 2010 was won by the Eagles. The previous record before 2004 was 6,879 for the Eastern – Idaho game on Oct. 17, 1992, when temporary bleachers were employed in addition to the 5,000 permanent seats. The top 25 attendances at Roos Field have come since the early 1990s, including the top eight in the last three seasons.
In February 2010, Eastern Washington announced its plans to remove the natural turf at Woodward Field and replace it with red SprinTurf, making it the second Division I college football program to have a non-green playing surface (Boise State changed to a blue surface in 1986.) On May 20, the university's board of trustees approved a name change to Roos Field, upon the successful completion of the project. All-pro offensive tackle Michael Roos donated a half million dollars to the project; a three-year starter for the Eagles, he was a second round selection in the 2005 NFL Draft.
The stadium is named after construction magnate Dennis Washington, a Montana business pioneer who donated $1 million to finance the its construction in 1985. The stadium has been expanded three times since its opening in 1986, most recently in 2008 with an upper deck expansion of 2,000 seats on the east side.
The original capacity in 1986 was 12,500 permanent seats on the sidelines with open grass seating behind the end zones, an approximate capacity of 15,000. Permanent seating for the end zones increased the seating capacity to over 19,000 in 1995, and a 2008 expansion pushed it over 25,000.
Eastern's first game at the stadium was in 1988; previous games were at Dornblaser Field.
- "Montana favored to defeat Eastern Washington at Gonzaga tonight". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. September 20, 1947. p. 10.
- "E.W.C. is ready for C.P.S.; Savage center is sidelined". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. September 20, 1947. p. 8.
- "Too much power tells on E.W.C." Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. September 22, 1947. p. 16.
- "City says stadium must be repaired". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. December 17, 1947. p. 1.
- "Historic Gonzaga Stadium finally will be "retired"". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. April 8, 1949. p. 15.
- "Savages blasted by Montana 52-0". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. September 25, 1950. p. 15.
- "Cheney, Pirates, Lutes on today". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. September 18, 1948. p. 10.
- "EWCE upsets favored U. of M". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. September 20, 1948. p. 10.
- Devlin, Vince (September 7, 1984). "Inland Empire college football to kick off 1984". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. p. 17.
- "Eastern Washington accepted by Big Sky". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. Associated Press. December 11, 1986. p. 2C.
- Washington State Game by Game against Opponents. Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine. College Football Data Warehouse. Accessed November 26, 2007.
- Kasper, John (September 25, 2013). "No. 48 Big Sky Innovation". Big Sky Conference. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- "Injuries are main story of Eagle-Vandal game". Spokane Chronicle. Washington. October 16, 1984. p. B2.
- Stewart, Chuck (October 20, 1984). "More than fruits, veggies at stake". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 17.
- "Looking back: 10 years - Oct. 18, 1984". Cheney Free Press. Washington. October 13, 1994. p. 4.
- "Eastern is healthy, record among best". Spokane Chronicle. October 23, 1984. p. B2.
- "Eastern Washington vs. Idaho". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved June 9, 2016.
- Blanchette, John (October 30, 1997). "Governor's Cup brings into play study of opposites". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. C1.
- Bergum, Steve (October 24, 1998). "Nonetheless, Montana-EWU is a biggie". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. C1.
- "Eagles to Take on Lumberjacks in Non-Conference Meetings". GoEags.com. November 2, 2017. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
- "Eastern lineman Roos on fast track of success". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. October 15, 2004. p. C1.