After a 28-6 loss Saturday at Rynearson Stadium to Mid-American Conference opponent Kent State, Eastern Michigan coach Ron English said it was a difficult postgame locker room to step into.
“I feel for those kids,” English said. “(There were) a lot of tears in that locker room.”
As in previous games, things quickly went sour for Eastern (0-6, 0-3). Johnny Sears lost a fumble on the opening kickoff return.
KSU (3-4, 2-1) capitalized on the mistake with the first of quarterback Spencer Keith’s three touchdowns to take a 7-0 lead. He had two passing and one rushing touchdown.
Trailing 14-6 early in the second quarter, Eastern had a first-and-goal from KSU’s 1-yard line but was held without a score after four consecutive failed rushing attempts. KSU led 14-6 at halftime.
“I thought the goal-line stand really turned the game,” English said. “We had four chances to get in there, and we didn’t get that done. I just told the team, ‘Guys when we have first-and-goal from the 2, and we’re going for it we should be able to make 2 yards.’”
When asked why he decided to go for it on fourth down rather than attempt a field goal, English was candid.
“We don’t have anything to lose right now,” he said. “So we need to create an attitude and mindset, and that’s what we’re going to do here. When you really have a good team, you’re not going to turn down 7 points. You feel like you should score from the 2, and we just have to develop that.”
Linebacker Cobrani Mixon, who had 11 tackles, said the play was huge for the KSU defense.
“I kept telling my D-line, ‘They can’t block you,’ you know, just get in their head, keeping them ready to go,” Mixon said. “And, (Quinton Rainey) came off the ball and made a great tackle in the backfield. That was all our D-line right there. They just didn’t want to be blocked.”
KSU was able to build momentum off the goal-line stand and dominated the second half. Keith scored on a 1-yard rush in the third quarter, and receiver Leneric Muldrow threw a 31-yard touchdown to Kendrick Pressley in the fourth to all but put the game away.
“They kind of set us up on it,” said EMU defensive back Chris May, who had an interception. “We were thinking they were going to keep pounding the ball. We needed a stop, and that kind of put it out of range.”
Eastern’s points came on 30- and 25-yard field goals by Joe Carithers.