Beau Baldwin’s Eastern Washington Eagles came up just short in their FCS semifinal Saturday against Sam Houston State.
Eastern staged a remarkable second-half comeback, but nonetheless saw its season end with a 45-42 loss to Sam Houston State at Roos Field in Cheney.
EWU trailed 35-0 at halftime.
But with backup Vernon Adams playing in place of starting quarterback Kyle Padron, Eastern scored 28 unanswered points.
Sam Houston got a fourth-quarter touchdown and field goal, but Eastern got within 45-42 on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Adams to Brandon Kaufman with 3:04 to play.
The visitors then recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock to advance to FCS title game against North Dakota State on Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas.
Baldwin, a player, assistant coach and head coach at Central Washington, led Eastern to the 2010 national championship. His Eagles finished the 2012 season 11-3.