Senior Day at Eastern Michigan University ended in defeat for its ten football seniors with a 28-17 loss to the University of Massachusetts at Rynearson Stadium Saturday night.
The loss ends the Eagles’ home schedule without a win at Rynearson Stadium and now the team has lost nine games in a row.
“Tough game,” said EMU coach Chris Creighton. “The story for me is our ten seniors playing for the last time here at The Factory, in Rynearson. I know even though some of them were injured and not able to play, they played as hard as they can possibly can and our team tried as hard to give them that W for them here in that last one.”
EMU (1-10, 0-6 Mid-American Conference) opened up the scoring after the defense earned a three-and-out with a 51-yard field goal from Dylan Mulder, his fourth this season from beyond 50 yards, and gave the Eagles the early 3-0 lead.
UMass (2-8, 1-5 MAC) then took its next drive 78 yards for the lead after a 47-yard run by Jamal Wilson on the second play of the series and was capped off by a three-yard touchdown run from Marquis Young to give the Minutemen a 7-3 lead.
The Minutemen were able to extend that lead two possessions later, this time a four play, 56 yard drive with the score coming on a 39-yard diving catch by receiver Tajae Sharpe.
UMass was set to score again on its next drive, but a 29-yard pass from Blake Frohnapfel was intercepted in the end zone by Devon Russell, giving the ball back to EMU at its own 20.
The turnover gave the Eagles a little spark, as the offense drove 80 yards in nine plays with quarterback Brogan Roback finding receiver Eddie Daugherty to cut the deficit to 14-10 6:45 left before halftime.
The offense in the three drives prior accumulated -5 yards of offense.
“There’s always five-to-six critical plays in the game.” Creighton said. “They were 8-of-12 on third downs and we were 3-of-12, and third down is a big down and they beat us on it.”
EMU was about to score before halftime, but a third down catch by Sam Browning was fumbled and recovered by the Minutemen at their own 22-yard line.
The Eagles were unable to get anymore traction from the offense after the missed opportunity, being outscored 14-7 in the second half with the lone Eagle touchdown being a four-yard touchdown pass from Roback to senior wide receiver Dustin Creel.
Mulder missed a pair of field goals from beyond 40 yards in the second half as well.
“It’s an emotional locker room,” said Creighton. “Because guys gave it all they had to make it right for [the seniors].”
The Eagles will have next week off before finishing the season on the road against in-state rival Central Michigan. Kickoff is TBA, and will take place Friday Nov. 27 from Mount Pleasant, Mich.