The Eastern Michigan University football team gave its in-state rivals, the Western Michigan Broncos a run for their money at Kalamazoo on Saturday in the 45-31 loss.
The Eagles (5-3, 2-2) held a 17-14 lead in the second quarter to give the Broncos (8-0, 4-0) their first home deficit of the season. 561 total yards by the Western Michigan offense allowed the Broncos to pull away from Eastern Michigan.
“Give credit to Western Michigan, they’re a really good football team. Not surprised by that, we knew that they were really good, really talented and well coached. All that was true,” said EMU coach Chris Creighton.
Eastern Michigan’s offense kept itself in the game as it produced 461 yards on the day. The Eagles were led through the air with 319 passing yards while also establishing the run with 142 yards on the ground.
Redshirt junior Brogan Roback continued his strong 2016 season as he threw for 319 yards with a touchdown and an interception. With his performance, he surpassed 4,000 career-passing yards as well as throwing for back-to-back 300 yard passing games. Roback also helped in the running game as he has five carries for 33 yards and a touchdown run.
Due to injuries throughout the running back position, redshirt freshman Breck Turner received his first start of his career as he ran for 86 yards on 17 carries while also having a fumble and a touchdown. True freshman Willie Parker saw his first action of his career as he ran the ball seven times for 21 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagle defense struggled against the dominant offense of Western Michigan as it surrendered 45 points and 561 yards. The defense was able to force a fumble and an interception from a Western Michigan team that had only turned the ball over once going into the game.
Zach Terrell had a career day for the Broncos as he threw for 398 yards for three touchdowns and his first interception of the year. After rushing for over 200 yards the previous week, the Eagles held Jarvion Franklin in check as the defense limited him to 114 yards and a touchdown. Carrington Thompson had a career day for the Broncos as he caught 8 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
“Their completion percentage was 29 of 35. That’s unheard of. I’ve thought that he (Terrell) was a fantastic quarterback from the very first year that we played them,” said Creighton on the Broncos’ passing game.
Junior Jason Beck, who had 12 tackles on the day, led the Eagle defense. True freshman Vince Calhoun added an additional nine tackles. Redshirt sophomore Jerimiah Harris had six tackles, a sack and a force fumble. Redshirt sophomore Ross Williams recorded an interception for the Eagle defense.
Eastern Michigan now looks to become bowl-eligible as it hosts Miami University (Ohio) at home on Saturday, Oct. 29. Kickoff at Rynearson Stadium is set for 3:30.
“We’re not going to let this loss beat us twice. We’re going to have 24 hours to learn from it, to flush it. And then we got to get ready for a good Miami team,” said Creighton