It was a game between winless Mid-American Conference teams Saturday, as Eastern Michigan University lined up against Ball State at Rynearson Stadium. It was for certain someone would come away with a win.
EMU took an early lead and held it until late in the third quarter but couldn’t hold on. BSU had two touchdowns and a safety in the third quarter to overcome a 14-point deficit and win 29-27.
“It felt like we won the Super Bowl,” said BSU tailback MiQuale Lewis, who had 26 carries for a school-record 301 yards and a touchdown.
His teammate, Cory Sykes, had 203 yards rushing and three touchdowns. BSU had 463 yards rushing and only 1-yard passing.
“I’m a coach that’s always thrown the ball for a lot of yards,” BSU coach Stan Parrish said. “This is a record. We threw for 1 yard, and we won.”
EMU (0-7, 0-4 MAC) scored on its opening drive when Kyle McMahon threw a 3-yard touchdown to Ben Thayer that capped an 11-play, 45-yard drive. It was the first time the team had led at any point in a game.
“I thought we started off good with a lot of emotion and intensity,” EMU coach Ron English said.
It didn’t take long for BSU (1-7, 1-3) to respond as Sykes had a 51-yard touchdown run, but the extra point was blocked to make it 7-6 with 4:52 to play in the first quarter.
The Eagles opened up the second quarter with a 20-yard field goal by Joe Carithers, but before this they were stopped on three straight rushing attempts at the BSU 1-yard line. EMU had been given a touchdown before the stand, but the officials reversed the call upon further review.
EMU then scored 10 straight. The first score came on a 12-yard run by Corey Welch, and the other was a 26-yard field goal by Carithers to make it 20-6 with 6:37 left in the half.
BSU answered with Lewis’ 48-yard touchdown run to make the halftime score 20-13.
“That touchdown that they scored right before the first half — that was big,” English said. “Now you give them momentum back into the game.”
EMU started the third quarter with a 10-yard scoring run by DeAnthony White to put it ahead 27-13.
After the score by EMU, BSU began to mount its comeback. Sykes punched in a 6-yard touchdown run that highlighted an 8-play, 93-yard drive in the third quarter.
“The O-line just did a great job today,” Sykes said. “They opened up a lot of big holes for us.”
With 5:33 left in the third quarter, defensive end Robert Eddins blocked an EMU punt attempt, which resulted in a safety. Punter Zach Johnson was injured on the play and did not return.
“Coach just told me to go hard,” Eddins said. “I just went as hard as I could, and he kept telling me, ‘Keep going as hard as you can and one will come.’ I wasn’t even expecting to block one.”
BSU went up for good late in the third quarter when Sykes scored his final touchdown on a 37-yard run.