Eastern Michigan University football traveled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday evening and was defeated by ninth-ranked Louisiana State University by a score of 44-22.
Despite the loss, Eastern Michigan surely turned a lot of heads with its surprise performance against the Tigers while also quieting a few critics by holding its ground, rather than lying down and taking a beating.
In the first half, EMU (1-4, 0-1) did a couple of things no other team could do against the Tigers this season – scoring a first half touchdown and forcing a turnover.
LSU jumped out to an early 17-0 lead, but EMU running back Shaq Vann put the Eagles on the board with a six-yard touchdown run, closing the gap to make it 17-7.
EMU defensive lineman Luke Maclean would then catch an interception and return it to the LSU 1-yard line. The turnover set the Eagles up with another touchdown, this time by Darius Jackson to close the gap even more to make it 17-14.
Defensively, Eastern Michigan did everything to try and contain the rushing attack of LSU. EMU forced LSU to throw the ball throughout the game, but penalties cost Eastern Michigan on multiple occasions.
“There weren’t very many completed balls – there were penalties,” said EMU coach Chris Creighton.
The Eagles defense held LSU quarterback, Brandon Harris to just 80-yards through the air and completing only 26 percent of his passes.
LSU did, however, run for 399-yards and four touchdowns. LSU running back Leonard Fournette was responsible for 233 of those yards.
“The heart and passion our guys played with, I’ll take that any day of the week,” said Creighton. “We came here to win. Called an onside kick down eight to try and steal a possession.”
Eastern Michigan did get off to a slow start but settled in as the game went on. The EMU offense had 161-yards passing, with tight end Sam Browning leading the team with six receptions and 87-yards.
The playmakers of the game tended to be many of the newcomers. Eddie Daugherty had a great game returning kickoffs, Sam Browning had a career high game, Shaq Vann saw a fair share of carries and receptions, and Cody Tuttle contributed to the passing game early as well.
Eastern Michigan made a lot of noise in this game, and has shown vast amount of improvement in just a one-year span.
“We’re building something special here,” said Creighton. “It’s happening.”