Eastern Michigan University’s homecoming football game was Saturday. Alumni and students alike flocked to Rynearson Stadium to take part in the pageantry, name a king and queen and help cheer their team to a victory.
They had little to get excited about, though, as the intermittent rain added to the dreary, inconsistent results on the field. EMU extended its losing streak to four to start the season as Temple University won 24-12 in Eastern’s Mid-American Conference opener.
Temple (2-2, 2-0) jumped out to an early lead, scoring 14 straight in the first quarter. Its opening possession was a five-play, 60-yard drive capped by a 16-yard rushing touchdown by tailback Bernard Pierce.
EMU coach Ron English said he has been concerned with his team starting games “flat,” as it happened again Saturday. “If I could solve that problem, I’d be a happy man right now,” he said.
Pierce scored on to score on a 3-yard run with 5:07 left in the first quarter to pad that early lead. He finished with 25 carries for 185 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s strong,” Temple coach Al Golden said. “He wants the ball, and he loves playing when it’s physical. He gets stronger as the game goes on.”
Eagles’ rush defense was poor as Temple had 242 yards.
“I don’t know if we’ve stopped (the run) all year,” English said. “Stopping the run is really an attitude first, so that’s what the coach has to teach.
“And after that everyone has to know where to fit. And after that they have to be willing to strike and get off blocks. And then after that you have to get numbers to the ball.
“Right now we do none of that consistently, and we give up too many big plays, and therefore the rushing numbers are outrageous.”
Temple continued to score in the second quarter. Quarterback Vaughn Charlton completed a 14-yard scoring pass to Evan Rodriguez to make it 21-0.
Joe Carithers put EMU on the scoreboard with 9:47 remaining in the second quarter by converting a 38-yard field goal. He went on to make another from 43 yards as time expired in the first half to pull his team within 21-6.
The EMU defense held Temple to a field goal in the second half, but the damage had already been done. The Eagles’ lone touchdown came on a 1-yard run by Terrence Blevins with 1:39 remaining.
“You really can’t expect to win when you come out as a defense and give up 21 first-half points,” EMU defensive tackle Brandon Downs said.
“We kind of got a slow start and that set us back, then we settled down and starting playing good football, but you know, you just can’t start out a game like that.”
Kyle McMahon started at quarterback for EMU in place of the injured Andy Schmitt, who is out for the season. He was 25-of-36 passing for 230 yards and an interception.