The Eastern Michigan Eagles’ 130th season came to an end on Dec 18. following a 56-20 loss at the 2021 LendingTree Bowl. The game was played against the Liberty Flames from Lynchburg, Virginia and was held at Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
The Eagles dropped to 7-6 to finish the season, while the Flames improved to 8-5.
Early in the matchup EMU took a 3-0 lead over Liberty after scoring on the first drive of the game. Liberty answered back by taking a 13-3 lead, before the Eagles put up a touchdown to cut the lead and make it 13-10.
The Flames caught fire throughout the rest of the matchup, scoring 7 consecutive times not allowing the Eagles to score again until there was just 5:26 left, cutting the lead to 56-13. The Eagles scored one more time in the matchup to narrow the score to 56-20.
Throughout the game, EMU converted 6-of-17 third downs while Liberty was successful on 3-of-9.
On the offense, senior quarterback Ben Bryant led the Eagles’ air attack by passing for 200 yards on 23 completions. Bryant finished the season with 3,121 passing yards. He is now just one of three players in EMU football history to hit the 3,000-yard mark in a season, joining Charlie Batch (1997- 3,280; 1995- 3,177) and Mike Glass III (2019- 3,169).
Sophomore running back Samson Evans and freshman running back Darius Boone led EMU on the ground, each rushing for 50+ yards. Junior wideout Hassan Beydoun led on the receiving end for the Eagles, catching 11 passes for 83 yards. The performance by Beydoun notched him as the all-time receptions leader in a single season.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Terry Myrick led the Eagles with 8 tackles. Seniors Alvinoski LaFleur and Turan Rush both finished with 6 tackles, while Rush also added a sack. Senior defensive back Jeff Hubbard made his presence known in the second half by hauling in his first interception of the season, which was returned for a touchdown.
In a post-game press conference, coach Chris Creighton shared his thoughts on the loss.
“First I would like to say congratulations to Liberty. They are a really good football team and they played very well tonight,” Creighton said.
Although a disappointing conclusion to the 2021 season, Creighton pridefully emphasized the Eagles’ hard work and effort throughout the season.
“I can’t tell you how much those guys have meant to me and our football program, I really wanted to send them out with a fun locker room and bowl victory. We weren’t able to do that, but I love those guys and we’re going to miss them,” Creighton added.
The Eagles will head back home to enjoy a holiday break and then return to Ypsilanti for the start of winter workouts and preparing for the 2022 season.
For all information on all things EMU football, you can visit EMUEagles.com or follow @EMUFB on social media.