Eastern Michigan University hurt its own cause Saturday, as it made six turnovers at Rynearson Stadium en route to a 35-14 loss to Western Michigan for its 10th consecutive defeat.
“You’re not going to win a game if you turn it over six times,” coach Ron English said. “I mean, that’s not going to happen.”
EMU (0-10, 0-6 Mid-American Conference) will have two more chances to avoid imperfection. It plays Toledo at 7 p.m. Friday and Akron at 2 p.m. Nov. 27 – both are road games.
Alex Gillett had a somewhat mixed bag of results in his first-career start and complete game. He led the Eagles to points on their first drive, granted it was on a short field.
Gillett, a freshman, was 15-for-26 passing for 186 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions. He had 26 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown but lost two fumbles. The Eagles had been using two quarterbacks, including junior Kyle McMahon.
“We’ll wait and see, and hopefully play them both some,” English said. “We just wanted to see where we were and what we had in (Gillett), and we wanted to try and give ourselves the best chance to win. We’ll continue to try and develop both those players.”
Gillett’s counterpart, Tim Hiller, started a little rough but ended up besting him. Hiller’s first attempt was intercepted by Chris May, which set up EMU’s first score, but he bounced back to finish 21-of-31 passing for 273 yards and four touchdowns.
“Not the start I envisioned,” Hiller said. “I know that was my fault. I had an open guy. I just sailed it and ended up putting the defense in a tough spot.
“As a competitor, you just keep going. You just keep playing. You have short memory. That’s important as a quarterback.”
It was the ninth time he’d thrown for at least four touchdowns and brought his career total to 98.
Hiller fumbled twice (one lost) and threw an interception. He was pressured a considerable amount, with Brandon Downs and Devon Davis each registering 1 ½ sacks and a forced fumble.
After Gillett’s early touchdown run made it 7-0 early in the first quarter, Western had four unanswered touchdowns before the Eagles scored on a 12-yard reception by Kinsman Thomas to cut the deficit to 28-14 going into the half.
The Broncos scored the lone touchdown in the second half.