CHENEY, Wash. -- Gunner Talkington's fifth touchdown pass, a 13-yarder to Efton Chism III with 2:39 to play, lifted FCS No. 12 Eastern Washington to a 36-29 win over Tennessee State in a lightning-delayed opening game on Saturday.
Talkington, a fifth-year senior in his first start after backing up All-American and Payton Award winner Eric Barriere, was 29 of 46 for 348 yards. He also ran nine times for a team-high 60 yards. Coming into the game he was 32-of-64 passing for 365 yards and five TDs in his career.
Tre Weed intercepted a long pass at the EWU 10 with 44 seconds to play to seal the game.
After an almost hour delay late in the third quarter, the Tigers scored 10-straight points to tie the game at 29. Talkington then took the Eagles on an 11-play, 75-yard drive for the win, throwing for the winner after his five-yard touchdown run was wiped out by a penalty.
Draylen Ellis, who threw for 257 yards and two scores, tied the game with a 4-yard run with 6:32 to play. Devon Starling ran for 207 yards and a score on 25 carries. Zack Dobson had five receptions for 132 yards with a 67-yard score on a shovel pass to open the scoring.
Both teams had 255 yards of offense in the first quarter when Tennessee State took a 19-15 lead. The final tally was 474 for Eastern, which lost a fumble early, and 547 for the Blue Raiders, who had three turnovers and 12 penalties.
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