The feeling everyone had as they settled into their cars following Saturday's loss to Old Dominion was mutual. It was sheer disappointment and the feeling that this season is shaping up to be just like all the others.
This game was disappointing because EMU didn’t come away with a win. There was also a certain feeling that I don’t think many of us have felt in quite a few years while cheering for EMU. Our excitement was higher because the guys in green had a very good chance of winning this game. This was nothing like last year where there was little to no excitement.
What I mean by that is, EMU didn’t lose on Saturday 57-7 like they did to Western Michigan. They didn’t lose 52-16 like they did to Toledo. It was 38-34 coming down to the last possession of the game.
But what difference does it make? A loss is a loss, right? Look at it however you want. Sure, moral victories don’t get you to bowl games, but this team is different than it was a year ago. They played faster on offense and they looked more organized and more comfortable on the field than a year ago.
This team can roll over and play dead and get pounded game in and game out, or it can continue to get better and fight in every game. With Chris Creighton at the helm of this team I would have a hard time believing its members are going to fall on their swords and give up.
There are still a lot of things that need to be worked on. Learning to play with a lead and sustain that lead for all four quarters is one of them. Eastern went up 14-0 to start the game, and I think the team just got too comfortable. It went up 24-10 coming out of halftime. Again, the Eagles got comfortable. EMU maintained a slim lead throughout the game and ODU stuck around. In crunch time, ODU knew exactly what it needed to do.
Old Dominion’s coach Bobby Wilder said ODU had won all four of its conference games by 3 points last year on the last few plays of the game.
In football you can never get too comfortable. For as fast as the EMU offense plays, momentum can shift in a matter of seconds. As Creighton said in his press conference, there was a “lull” at certain points in the game. Those lulls came after turnovers, and after ODU touchdowns and big plays. It’s a certain mindset that needs work now. We all saw the talent this team posses, now it’s at the point where meshing things together is the new process.
There’s going to be that one game where everything will just click for EMU. Everything that has been worked on tirelessly will come together and work just like a factory assembly line. It could happen right from the start of a game, or it could happen in the middle of a game.
This would be the turning point that will change the direction of this football program. As Creighton said, “It’s going to be awesome.”
There are still some very winnable games early in this 2015 season. Including the Wyoming game coming up this Saturday. Wyoming lost to North Dakota this last weekend 24-13. Then back-to-back home games with Ball State (beat VMI by 12) and Army (lost to Fordham by 2).
Follow Robert Hull on Twitter @RobertHull124