The Eastern Michigan football team lost its first home game of the season Saturday, falling 28-17 to Northern Illinois University at Rynearson Stadium.
Reggie Bell was the starting quarterback for Eastern (2-6, 1-3 Mid-American Conference). He was 16-for-34 for 124 yards and an interception. Bell also carried 25 times for 133 yards and a touchdown.
Ryan Brumfield was also a prominent part of the Eagles offense Saturday. He rushed 18 times for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Kevin Johnson made 13 tackles for Eastern. Great Ibe added 11.
Drew Hare started for NIU (6-2, 3-1, MAC). He completed 8-of-14 passes for 44 yards. Hare also rushed 13 times for 166 yards and a touchdown.
Joel Bouagnon (10 carries, 85 yards) and Cameron Stingily (11 carries, 63 yards) each scored a touchdown for the Huskies on the ground.
Hare started the scoring for the Huskies on their first drive when he busted a 78-yard run, capping a three play 83-yard drive.
Eastern answered on the following drive – Brumfield punched it in from four yards out, finishing a 10-play, 80 yard drive.
Brumfield finished the first half with nine carries for 72 yards.
Eastern blocked a NIU 24-yard field goal attempt with 7:51 left in the first quarter – defensive lineman Mike Steals was credited with it.
Stingily only needed one shoe to score NIU’s second touchdown of the first half – from three yards out – at the end of the first quarter, the point after gave the Huskies the 14-7 lead.
Eastern marched down the field in the last 1:35 of the first half, but was held to a 21-yard field goal from Mulder, making the score 14-10 at the half.
Eastern had a chance to score early in the third quarter when it ran a flea flicker – but Bell was intercepted by Dechane Durante at the NIU 10-yard line.
The Eagles forced NIU to go three-and-out on the ensuing drive.
Willie Creaar blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt with 4:27 left in the third quarter – it was the Eagles’ fifth blocked field goal this season and the second in the game.
Neither team scored in the third quarter.
Bell scored on a diving run from three yards out to score the first points for either team since Mulder’s field goal to end the first half. The point after gave the Eagles the 17-14 lead – their first lead of the game – with 14:54 to go in the fourth quarter.
Northern Illinois retook the lead with 11:55 remaining in the fourth – a 24-yard run by Bouagnon. The PAT gave the Huskies a 21-17 lead.
Stingily put it away with a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:26 to go, set up by a 32-yard rush by Hare.
Follow Al Willman on Twitter: @AlWillmanEcho