The Eastern Michigan football team ended its historic 2016 season at the Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl as the team fell to the Old Dominion Monarchs, 24-20, on Friday.
This was the Eagles first bowl game since the 1987 California Bowl against San Jose State. The Eagles have ended their 2016 season with a 7-6 record after falling to 1-11 in 2015.
Eastern Michigan trailed 10-0 at halftime and a 17 point third-quarter allowed the Eagles to tie up the game going into the fourth quarter. Old Dominion went down the field and scored as the Eagles settled for a field goal to trail 24-20. EMU was forced to punt and the Monarchs ran out the rest of the clock to seal the victory for Old Dominion.
The Eagles out-gained the Monarchs on offense 470-394 while having eight more first downs then ODU.
The offense was led through the passing game by redshirt junior quarterback Brogan Roback who threw for 300 yards, two touchdowns, an interception while completing 56.5 percent of his passes. This was Robacks’ sixth 300-yard passing game of the season. Even with a dominant pass-rush by Old Dominion, Roback was not sacked in the game.
Diuly Aristilde led all receivers in receptions and receiving yards as the redshirt freshman caught seven passes for 80 yards. Sophomore Eddie Daugherty saw his role rise as he caught 6 passes for 72 yards. Junior JUCO-transfers Sergio Bailey and Johnnie Niupalau caught both of Robacks two touchdown passes on the day.
The rushing attack added up to 170 yards on the day. Redshirt sophomore Blake Banham led the way for the Eagles with his 12 carries for 63 yards. Redshirt freshman Breck Turner added an additional eight carried for 48 yards to the Eastern Michigan rushing attack.
Running back Ray Lawry led the way for the Monarchs with his 23 carries for 133 yards. David Washington threw for 188 yards with three touchdowns and an interception while completing 55 percent of his passes.
The defense was led by redshirt-senior Pat O’Conner who recorded four tackles, a half of a sack, two tackles for loss, a pass-defensed and a quarterback hurry in his final game as an Eagle. Redshirt sophomore Kyle Rachwal led the team with tackles with his eight and redshirt junior Derric Williams added seven. Freshman Vince Calhoun had four tackles while picking off Washington.
This was the final game for 17 Eastern Michigan seniors as the 2016 season comes to the end for the team. The Eagles 2017 non-conference games include the Charlotte 49ers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Kentucky Wildcats and the Army Black Knights.