The Eastern Michigan Eagles fell to the Kent State Golden Flashes 34-26 in the last game of the regular season on Friday, Nov. 29 at Rynearson Stadium.
Eastern Michigan senior quarterback Mike Glass III threw for a career-high 386 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in the loss.
“It’s an emotional day, you know, with our seniors,” EMU head coach Chris Creighton said. “We do a lot of things in the program this weekend to honor them. It’s a special group.
It’s hard thinking about them not being with the program anymore. Very, very, very disappointed. But we lost to a good football team that was playing for bowl eligibility, so hats off to them.”
The Eagles (6-6, 3-5) got on the board first as Shaq Vann gave EMU a 7-0 lead following a 30-yard TD run with 12:19 left in the first quarter. Kent State (6-6, 5-3) answered back with two consecutive touchdowns by Xavier Williams and Dustin Crum to take a 14-7 lead heading to the second quarter.
Glass connected with Quian Williams for an 18-yard touchdown to even the score at 14 apiece, but the Golden Flashes responded right away. Matthew Trickett knocked through a 45-yard field goal, and Crum scored his second touchdown of the game to put Kent State up 24-14 at the half.
“We knew it was going to be a war, and it was, and they came out on the right side,” Creighton said. “Our guys didn’t quit fighting obviously, down to the very end. We were trying to eliminate explosives. That would be our key because they live by that and we did a much better job. Even when they got some chunk plays and what not, we kept the ball in front of us.”
The Golden Flashes headed into the second half looking for an opportunity to extend the lead – and they did just that. On the opening kickoff, Jamari Parker returned the ball 96 yards for another touchdown. Kent State led 31-14 with 14:48 left in the third quarter.
The Eagles would continue to fight, though, as they have done all season long. Glass hit Line Latu for a 30-yard touchdown about two minutes later and then found Bryson Cannon for a 6-yard TD early in the fourth quarter. Creighton decided to go for the two-point conversion and failed. Eastern Michigan trailed 31-26 with 7:58 left.
Trickett added three more points to Kent State’s lead with a 24-yard field goal with 1:27 left. The Eagles had one more shot to drive down the field and tie the game, but they were unable to score. Glass was intercepted by Keith Sherald Jr. at the Kent State seven-yard line. The Golden Flashes took a knee and ran out the rest of the clock.
Creighton, regarding Glass’ final interception, said: “I think he just underthrew the ball a little bit. You know, it’s a play that he’s hit thousands of times. The kid made a good play on the catch, but it just didn’t go where he wanted it to go. We just knew we were going to be able to score and go for two, so it probably hasn’t hit everybody yet. So, it’s a tough day.”
The Eagles are bowl eligible for the third time in four years, despite the loss. They will await their postseason destination, which will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 8. There are 79 bowl eligible teams and 78 bowl slots, so one team, possibly EMU, will be left out.
“We treated this game as we win and we’re in,” said Creighton. “If we don’t, then we’d be on the outside looking in. I also told them there’s a small chance, which is completely out of our control. It’s going to depend on what happens this weekend around the country. We didn’t give ourselves an out going into it.”
Quotes courtesy of EMU Athletics.