Eastern Michigan football loses road game to Virginia, 48-21

The Eastern Michigan University football team(1-7, 1-3 MAC)dropped a non-conference game to the University of Virginia (3-4)48-21 on Saturday.

After winning its first game of the season last weekend and snapping an 18-game losing streak over two years, the Eagles dropped to 1-7 overall with a loss to the Cavilers.

The Cavaliers came out and took a 14-0 lead early on. They opened the game with an 81-yard drive on 10 plays in just over four minutes. After exchanging possessions, senior quarterback Mark Verica connected with sophomore tight end Paul Freedman for a 21-yard Virginia touchdown with just 4:38 left in the first quarter.

The Eagles responded quickly with a 55-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Javonti Greene in just over a minute. The rush was the longest of the season for EMU, passing up a 52-yard run by senior running back Dwayne Priest.

Greene led EMU’s rushing game with 155 yards and two touchdowns (55 yards, 53 yards)on eight rushes. It also marked the first 100-yard rushing effort of his young career.

EMU then forced a Cavalier punt and moved into Virginia territory. However they could not make their way into the end zone and a 29-yard field goal attempt by freshman kicker Kody Fulkerson was no good.

The Eagles came back to make an 80-yard drive on just five plays. Sophomore quarterback Alex Gillett rushed 31 yards into the end zone for his sixth career rushing touchdown and his longest run of the season. A point-after-attempt by Fulkerson tied the Eagles and Cavaliers at 14 with 5:18 left in the half.

Gillett paced EMU with 64 yards on 7-of-12 passes and one interception. He also turned in 86 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Virginia was able to go into its locker room with a 17-14 advantage after a field goal by junior kicker Robert Randolph. The Cavaliers were led by Marc Verica who threw for 203 yards on 18-of-31 passing and two touchdowns. Senior running back Keith Payne led their rushing efforts with 69 yards on 12 rushes.

Virginia dominated the second half, scoring 31 points and holding EMU to just seven. The 31-7 Cavalier run began with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Verica to junior fullback Terence Fells-Danzer after just five minutes of action.

The Eagles responded with a 53-yard touchdown rush by Greene, his second of the night. The Cavaliers then came back with a 70-yard kickoff return by junior Chris Hickebein. The next two touchdowns, and final points went to Virginia and advanced their lead to 48-21.

Saturday’s game marked the 1,000th contest in the history of the EMU football program and its first meeting with Virginia. It was also a notable night for minority football coaches and athletic directors. There are no official records, however, it is believed that Saturday’s game was the first ever played between two teams who each had an African American coach and athletic director in the history of the Division I FBS conference.

The Eagles will return home Saturday for MAC conference play against the Toledo Rockets on 4 p.m. Saturday at Rynearson Stadium.

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