The Eastern Michigan football team blew a 21-0 halftime lead in an overtime loss to Northern Illinois at Rynearson Stadium on Wednesday night, 31-24.
A week after Eastern Michigan (6-5, 3-4) came back down 21 points to Ball State (4-7, 4-3), the Eagles gave up there 21-0 halftime lead as the Huskies put up a 24 point second-half to send the game into overtime. The Huskies marched right down the field for a touchdown in overtime and the Eagles responded with four straight runs as they fell one yard short of a first down to fall to Northern Illinois, 31-24.
“this year one of the things we’ve been able to do is to fight back when we are down,” said coach Chris Creighton. “But one situation we haven’t been in is to be up and for things to be seemingly going well.”
One of the lone bright spots for the Eagles was the performance put on by redshirt sophomore running back Ian Eriksen. Eriksen led EMU in rushing as he carried the ball 30 times for 171 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Eriksen was also the leading receiver with four catches for 48 yards.
“Last week he (Eriksen) had a look in his eye, he just wasn’t going to let that game go the wrong way.,” said Creighton on Eriksens performance. “And he played like that tonight. If he needed to carry the team on his back, he was going to do whatever he could to make us win.”
After a career day against Ball State, redshirt junior quarterback Brogan Roback struggled against the Huskies as he completed 47 percent of his passes. Roback threw for 184 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in the loss to NIU as the offense stalled in the second half. Roback also carried the ball for 65 rushing yards. No receiver surpassed 50 yards on the day as 17 of Robacks’ passes connected to 6 different receivers. The lone passing touchdown connected to junior Sergio Bailey.
The defense was led by an 11 tackle game for redshirt sophomore Kyle Rachwal while he also caught his first interception of the year. Freshman Vince Calhoun accumulated 10 tackles, a tackle-for-loss and a pass defensed. Junior Jason Beck added nine tackles and a team-high one and a half tackles-for-loss.
The Huskies came into the game starting a third string quarterback and Ryan Graham sustained an injury which forced Daniel Santacaterina behind center. Santacaterina passed for 103 yards a touchdown and an interception while running for 91 yards. Jordan Huff led the way for the Huskies with 173 rushing yards and three touchdowns.
“Northern to their credit, that’s a six-time MAC championship game team, very proud. And teams like that aren’t going to go away,” said Creighton.
The Eagles look to pick up a win on senior day against in-state rival Central Michigan as the Eagles host the Chippewa’s in midweek MACtion on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Kickoff at Rynearson stadium is set at 7 pm. Fans can tune into WEMU and ESPN3.