The Eastern Michigan football team struggled to run the ball as it failed to reach bowl eligibility for the second week in a row in a 28-15 loss to the Miami Redhawks.
Bowl eligibility will have to wait another week as the Eagles ran the ball for as a team for 33 yards compared to Miami’s 230. The Eagles also surrendered five sacks to the Redhawks as the offensive line struggled to protect the quarterback.
“I’d like to congratulate Miami, on their big win today. They outcoached me big time and I think they outplayed us,” said coach Chris Creighton. “We weren’t able to do anything we set out to do tonight.”
Redhsirt junior Brogan Roback threw for his third straight 300 yard passing game as he threw for 328 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Roback took a beating as he was sacked five times.
The Eagles struggled to run the ball as the team compiled 33 yards altogether. Redshirt sophomore Ian Eriksen carried the ball 10 times for 33 yards. The Eagles appeared to suffer an injury to redshirt freshman Breck Turner, who carried the ball three times for 19 yards.
“We really struggled to run the ball against them last year,” said Creighton. “We weren’t able to do that to the degree that we needed to.”
A receiver that had not received a lot of playing time showed that he deserves to be a bigger part of the offense on Saturday. Redshirt freshman Dieuly Aristilde had a career day where he caught his first touchdown pass. Aristilde caught seven passes for 193 yards and a touchdown which came on a deep pass that turned into a 75-yard touchdown reception. Junior Sergio Bailey caught 3 passes for 39 yards to contribute on offense.
On defense, the Eagles held the Redhawks to 175 passing yards but did allow 230 rushing yards on the day. The rush defense surrendered 5.3 yards per carry. Eastern Michigan did force a fumble but only managed one sack.
“We wanted to stop the run on early downs and hold them to third and longs. We knew we had some ways to get to the quarterback in the passing game,” said Creighton.
Redhawk quarterback Gus Ragland completed 65 percent of his passes as he threw for 175 yards and a touchdown while running for nine yards and an additional touchdown. Most of the receiving yards came from Jared Murphy who had 122 yards and touchdown. Maurice Thomas led the rushing attack of Miami as he carried the ball seven times for 82 yards. Alonzo smith contributed with 59 yards and a touchdown while Kenny Young added 58 yards and a touchdown.
Junior Jason Beck led the Eastern Michigan defense with 11 tackles including a tackle for loss. Redshirt sophomore Jerimiah Harris added an additional six tackles as well as a sack and forced fumble.
Redshirt junior punter Austin Barnes continued his strong season as he punted six times for a 48 yards-per-punt average including a 61-yard punt.
The Eagles look to rebound as they get 10 days off before they travel to Muncie, Ind. Where they will play Ball State on election night on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Kickoff is set for 7 or 7:30.
“It was a hard one to swallow because I don’t know if we were at our best and that’s my job,” said Creighton.