The Eastern Michigan University football team (2-0, 0-0) notched their biggest regular season win in 126 seasons of football Saturday, Sept. 9, as they defeated the Scarlet Knights from Rutgers University (0-2, 0-0) 16-13 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
This was the Eagles first win against a power-five opponent in 59 overall games and their first win against a Big Ten conference opponent in 39 games. Going into Saturday’s contest, EMU was 0-38 versus the Big Ten -- their only other signature program win was San Jose State in the 1987 California Bowl.
"It's awesome. It's absolutely awesome," Chris Creighton, EMU head coach said to MLive.
"It's a group of guys and coaches that people didn't believe in that stuck together and endured some tough times and tried to stay on course and to believe in ourselves and believe in each other and to do things right, so yeah, to fly out here in the second week of the season and have a win like this, it's a pretty big deal."
Quarterback Brogan Roback completed 19 out of 36 passes for 267 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Antoine Porter for 8 yards early in the game.
Place kicker, Paulie Fricano kicked a go-ahead 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter. A 33-yard attempt from Fricano with 1:34 minutes to go was blocked – at least for a moment it seemed that Rutgers was still alive.
Rutgers was penalized 15 yards for illegal hands to the face pushing the ball back to the 40. Rutgers quarterback Kyle Bolin was sacked on the final play by the Eagles senior defensive-end Jeremiah Harris.
“We just didn’t make some plays that were there,” Rutgers Head Coach Chris Ash said. “I don’t want to overcomplicate it, oversimplify it. However, you want to look at it, we need to play better.”
Fricano, who tied his single-game high with three field goals hit from 33 and 21 yards, the latter tying the game at 13 with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.
“It was pretty hard not to be aware because like Coach Creighton said, he said it every chance he got,” Roback said. “But you definitely have a little bit of extra juice because you have a chip on your shoulder. You come in, you’re the underdogs and that’s fine. This team loves being the underdog.”
It’s that kind of take-no-prisoners’ mentality that has the Eagles atop the Mid-American Conference (MAC) West division at 2-0 start to the season for the first time since 2011.
The Scarlet Knights fall to 0-2 overall, and will host the Bears of Morgan State University next weekend Saturday, Sept. 16, in Piscataway. The Eagles will host the Bobcats of Ohio University Saturday, Sept. 23, at Rynearson Stadium.