Eastern Michigan University’s rush defense has been a pretty sore subject all season, and Saturday’s 29-27 loss to Ball State didn’t make the matter any easier.
MiQuale Lewis rushed for school-record 301 yards and Cory Sykes added 203. BSU scored on runs of 51, 48, 37 and 6 yards.
“I think we didn’t get off blocks, and I think they have a good runner,” EMU coach Ron English said.
EMU ranks dead last nationally in rush defense. It allows 275 yards per game, 6 yards per carry. Its allowed 23 rushing touchdowns.
Game of firsts
Besides BSU winning its first game, it was a game of firsts for both teams.
When Kyle McMahon threw a touchdown pass to Ben Thayer on EMU’s first drive, it was the first time it had held a lead at any point in the season.
The touchdown was the first on an openining drive for EMU, and it was the first time EMU scored one in the first quarter – a period that its outscored 71-16. The touchdown pass was the first by any EMU quarterback not named Andy Schmitt.
Lewis’ record day was the first time a BSU player rushed for more tan 300 yards. He surpassed Earl Taylor’s record of 260, which was set in 1976 against none other than EMU.
Johnson leaves with injury
EMU punter Zach Johnson didn’t return after he was injured when BSU blocked a punt out of the back of the end zone for a safety midway through the third quarter.
Johnson had punted three times for an average of 39.7 yards before leaving. Patrick Treppa replaced him and punted four times for an average of 35.5.
Johnson has arguabaly been EMU’s best player. He leads the Mid-American Conference in punting (41.7).
Parrish ends 34-game losing streak
When BSU coach Stan Parrish was at Kansas State (1986-88), he coached his team to losses in its last five in 1986. He then went 0-10-1 in 1987 and 0-11 in 1988.
Parrish took over for Brady Hoke, who left for San Diego State, to coach BSU to a loss in the 2008 GMAC Bowl. Add a 0-7 start this season, and Parrish had lost 34 in a row before Saturday.
“Let me just set something straight,” he said. “I lost games 20 some years ago, in a different place, in a different setting. I appreciate the fact that our local writers have tended to dwell on the team this year rather than the teams I had 20 years ago.
“It’s all about what was bad, not what was good, but I know what was good,” Parrish said. “It’s bad because the kids, it rubs off on the kids. The kids in our program don’t look at me as a loser. They associate me with winning. The kids in [EMU’s] program look at Ron English as a winner.”
Parrish does have an impressive resume for his players to see. He was quarterbacks coach for the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccanneers when they won the Super Bowl, and he was quarterbacks coach for Michigan in 1997 when it won the National Championship, too.