For interim coach Stan Parrish, the long and trying season is finally in the books and admitted about Ron English’s firing not making things any easier on the team.
“The long saga is over,” Parrish said. “I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult it was, in particular the last month without Ron. We were a wounded group.”
Eastern Michigan University’s defense of the Michigan Mid-American Conference Trophy came to an abrupt end in the 42-10 loss to Central Michigan University on the day after Thanksgiving at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant.
In the loss, running back Bronson Hill became the first Eagle to cross the 1,000-yard mark since Anthony Sherrill in 2003.
Hill’s historic day was capped off with a 167-yard performance on the ground and finishes the season with 1,101.
“He’s a good back,” Parrish said. “The sky’s the limit for Bronson (and) he knows that. (Bronson) finished the season and really did a great job.”
For EMU (2-10, 1-7 MAC West), wide receiver Dustin Creel finished with a career-high 10 catches for 109 yards.
Quarterback Brogan Roback completed 14-of-27 passes for 139 yards and threw for a touchdown and an interception.
Despite missing most of the season with a broken ankle, Zurlon Tipton rushed for a season-high 216 yards on 20 carries and tied a career-high with four touchdowns.
For the second consecutive game, Eastern was outgained as Central bettered them 295-193.
On the first drive, Ryan Brumfield fumbled the ball and CMU’s Avery Cunningham recovered it at the EMU 27-yard line.
For CMU (6-6, 5-3 MAC West), running back Zurlon Tipton capped the four-play, 27-yard drive by powering up the middle for a four-yard TD run to put them up 7-0.
Quarterback Cooper Rush’s completions to tight end Mike Kinville and wide receiver Andrew Flory made way for Tipton’s 1-yd touchdown run from up the middle to go up 14-0 with 1:28 left in the first quarter.
Starting at its own 13, Tipton ran over an EMU defender and then took it up the sideline untouched for a career-long 86-yard TD run to put the Chippewas ahead by 21.
Dylan Mulder put the Eagles on the board with a 24-yd field goal make with 6:29 left in the second quarter.
Eastern’s most successful drive of the day started at its own 15.
Hill ‘s 26-yd run put him over 100 yards for the sixth game this season. Not long after, Roback found tight end Cole Gardner in the corner of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown reception to cut the deficit to 21-10 at halftime.
Courtney Williams began the second half with an 84-yard touchdown on the kickoff return as he missed several EMU tackles and cruised into the end zone.
“(The coaches) preached to us all season that we need to get one (in the end zone) and it finally happened in the last game,” Williams said.
Tipton scored his fourth TD of the day and went untouched down the middle as he scored from 44 yards.
Driving in CMU territory on 3rd and 7, Roback took a massive shot from defensive back Kevin King, which resulted in a fumble and recovered by linebacker Joe Ostman.
“They were driving down the field and coach Tumpkin called blitz for me and I tried to time it up as best as I could,” King said. “I came off the edge and saw that [Brogan] was not looking at me and I tried to hit him as I hard as I could. I didn’t know the ball came out until I stood up and saw that we recovered it.”
Down 35-10 and driving in CMU territory, Roback managed to throw the ball despite the mishandled snap and was picked off by defensive back Avery Cunningham and took it back 75 yards for a touchdown.
After the game, Parrish hinted at the possibility that this was his last game coaching.
“I’m 67 years old,” Parrish said. “I know I am young (and) active, but there is a possibility that I have coached my last game.”
The last time Tipton scored four touchdowns in a game was on Nov. 23, 2012 against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen.
CMU leads the all-time series 57-28-6.
While EMU’s 2013 season ends, the hunt for a new head coach will become the primary focus for Athletic Director Heather Lyke.
Stay with the Eastern Echo for the latest news in the head coaching search.
Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.