Eastern Michigan Football kicked off their 127th season in program history on Friday, August 31st by defeating Monmouth University. Transfer quarterback from Iowa University Tyler Wiegers lead the Eagles to victory by a final score of 51 to 17. Head Coach Chris Creighton moves one step closer to cracking the top five all-time winningest coaches in Eastern Michigan history with his 16th win.
Eastern scored their first points of the game and the season on a 16 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Wiegers to wide receiver and team captain Blake Banham. Wiegers demonstrated elite precision on the drive, completing all eight of his passing attempts for a combined 88 yards included a 27 yard strike to wideout Dylan Drummond on 3rd and 11 to keep the drive alive.
Thanks to a sack on third down by defensive lineman Turan Rush Eastern Michigan was able to start their second drive with at Monmouth’s 34 yard line. It only took one play for EMU to score their second touchdown. Yet again, this touchdown came in the air but instead of Wiegers throwing it, wide receiver Isaac Holder dropped in a 34 yard pass to tight end Bryce Kemp giving the Eagles a two score lead.
After an impressive two opening drives, Eastern Michigan opted to bring in back up quarterback Mike Glass III. Glass became the third player on EMU’s roster to throw a touchdown pass in the game on a 15 yard pass to Drummond, giving the Eagles a 20-0 lead early in the second quarter.
EMU’s defensive dominance in the first half continued late into the second quarter with an interception by senior linebacker Kyle Rachwal deep in Monmouth territory. Glass made the most out of the outstanding field position, completing a 20 yard touchdown pass to wide out Line Latu to put the Eagles up 30-0.
Rachwal, who had an interception on the possession prior, was ejected from the game with a minute left in the first half for targeting. Rachwal made a late tackle on Monmouth quarterback Kenji Bahar where he made direct contact with Bahar’s head, resulting in the ejection. The penalty advanced Monmouth’s offense 15 yards which gave them the opportunity to score their first points of the game on a 42 yard field goal. At the end of the first half, Eastern Michigan headed into the locker room leading by a score of 30-3.
Penalties continued to result in points for Monmouth in the second half. Following a personal foul on defensive back Jeff Hubbard that kept the Monmouth possession alive, Bahar completed a 45 yard pass to Brandon Batts to move Monmouth into the red zone. Bahar capped off the drive with an eight yard scamper to make the score 30-10 in favor of the Eagles.
Glass and Wiegers continued to split reps throughout the second half. The two scored two more touchdowns in the second half along with another score by third string quarterback and true freshman Jairus Grissom. Grissom scored on a 20 yard run late in the third quarter.
After dismantling the Monmouth defense Eastern’s focus turns to Purdue University. Despite the dominating performance, there’s no room for complacency according to Coach Creighton in the post game conference. “There’s plenty of work for us to do in all three phases of the game,” Coach Creighton stated following the victory.
After defeating their first Big Ten opponent in school history last season, Eastern looks to continue their streak when they travel to Saturday, September 8th for a noon kick-off in West Lafayette against Purdue.