The Eastern Michigan University football team (2-1, 0-1) started their non-conference schedule with a loss, as they fell to the Ohio Bobcats (3-1, 1-0) in double overtime 27-20, Saturday, Sept. 23, at Rynearson Stadium.
Despite not scoring an offensive touchdown in regulation, the Bobcats running back A.J. Ouellette rushed for 147 yards on 26 carries. Quarterback Nathan Rourke also threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns for Ohio.
"It was obviously heartbreaking. Hats off to Ohio and Coach (Frank) Solich. It's a good football team and a good football program. To beat Ohio you have to be disciplined and smart. I made some mistakes with decisions that I made that was not best for our team, and you can't make mistakes against a team like that," head coach Chris Creighton said to reporters after the game.
"Our guys battled. I told them in the locker room, 'so I guess we're not going to go undefeated'. We try to go 1-0 each week, and it hurts to lose."
Quarterback Brogan Roback tried his best to recapture the magic of last season's 27-20 win in Athens, when he threw for three touchdowns. He would have to settle for 271 yards passing and one touchdown.
The Eagles run game had been stagnant, despite an Ian Eriksen 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 13-13. The score would stay put until the end of regulation.
On the very first play of overtime, Roback threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Sergio Bailey to take the lead 20-13.
However, after Rourke calmed down and started keying in on his receivers, a pair of touchdown passes in the second overtime period was enough to close it out and avenge the stinging loss from last season.
The Eagles finished the game with only 45 yards net rushing on 27 attempts for an average of 1.7 yards a carry. Creighton addressed this and indicated that they would have to go back to basics to establish the running game more effectively.
"We knew that Ohio would do their best to try to make us one-dimensional. We probably thought that we could be a little bit more effective running the ball than we were. It's not good. So we'll have to go back and see how they made it so difficult for us."
The Eagles are on the road for the next three weeks, beginning next weekend when they travel to Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington to square off with the University of Kentucky Saturday Sept. 30. at 4. p.m. The game can be viewed on the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Network.