Eastern Michigan fell to Central Michigan by a final score of 42-16 in their first conference game of the season, falling to a record of 3-2. Central Michigan ran away with the win behind a strong performance from star running back Jonathan Ward. The Eagles struggled to contain Ward all game long. He ended up with 132 yards rushing for two touchdowns as well as 73 yards receiving and another score.
"We got our butts kicked today from start to finish," said EMU head Creighton on his team's performance. "I think that they played harder than us in all three phases. That's what I'm responsible for. We should have been fresh coming off the bye week. I felt that we were prepared."
The Eagles allowed 149.5 yards rushing per game in their previous four games. The Chippewas would more than double that number on their way to 308 total yards on the ground. The Eagles allowed four touchdowns rushing, one of which was an 86-yard gash by Ward.
Allowing explosive plays plagued the Eagles all afternoon long. Ward also had a 64-yard reception for a score and Kalil Pimpleton hauled in an 80-yard touchdown bomb from quarterback David Moore. Creighton was straight to the point when discussing what went wrong on the longer plays: "Somebody blew an assignment, somebody was not where they're supposed to be."
Moore threw for 279 yards and two scores.
The Eagles offense was grounded for the majority of the game, not scoring their first touchdown until 4:11 was remaining in the third quarter. Mike Glass III threw 19 completions for 193 yards with two total scores, one through the air and one on the ground. Glass also threw an interception. 11 different Eagles caught a pass from Glass and backup quarterback Preston Hutchinson, who entered the game late in the fourth quarter after Glass received some rest after the score was out of reach.
Mathew Sexton led the Eagles receiving core with four receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles ground game spread between seven different players. Glass carried the ball on 10 different occasions for 42 yards and a score. Running back Willie Parker rushed for a team-high 43 yards.
Normally a strong suit for Eastern Michigan, the offensive line, struggled to protect Glass and create holes for the run game on Saturday. The EMU offensive line had given up just four sacks throughout the entire season heading into the Week 6 contest, however they allowed five as a unit against the Chippewas.
Looking to earn their first conference victory of the season, the Eagles will return back to Ypsilanti to take on Ball State University for homecoming week on Saturday, Oct. 12. Ball State is coming off of a 27-20 victory on the road over conference foe Northern Illinois. The Chippewas will remain at home while they host New Mexico State.