For the second straight week, Eastern Michigan University football coach Chris Creighton watched his team lose a disappointing game in front of the home fans at Rynearson Stadium – this week 38-7 to Central Michigan University.
He’s used words like disappointing and flat to describe some of the six losses the Eagles endured before Saturday’s game.
Today’s word – regret.
“Today is not going to dictate the rest of our season,” he said. “We’re going to learn from it and analyze everything like we always do. Honestly there are going to be some things we just need to flush in terms of this game and chalk it up and look back on it and say it was just a huge regret because we weren’t ready to play this game. That was not us out there today.”
Reggie Bell started at quarterback for Eastern, but left early in the first quarter. He rushed twice for 12 yards.
Creighton confirmed that Bell left the game with a head injury, but would not speculate further.
"When he came off the field, I could tell that he was a little dizzy," he said. "So we went and got the trainer."
Creighton said the medical personnel made the decision at halftime to not clear Bell to return.
Rob Bolden – who came in to replace Bell – was 7-of-19 for 76 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
He also rushed 13 times for minus-five yards.
Creighton shared his take on Bolden’s day and the play of the receivers.
“I think there were a lot of balls that were dropped,” Creighton said. “I think [Bolden] missed some reads … There’s no excuses – he was prepared to play and practiced and whatnot. He’s our second string quarterback.”
Ryan Brumfield carried seven times for nine yards for Eastern (2-7, 1-4 Mid-American Conference) – leading an running back corps that only gained 40 yards rushing.
“You might do 25 plays right in a row, but the 26th play you’re doing it wrong and it can make the whole thing go bad,” Creighton said of the run game. “That doesn’t mean one guy’s having a bad game, but if everybody’s taking turns of not getting it done, or not doing something right or getting beat – and it’s consistent – something’s going wrong every play, those are the kind of results you end up with.”
Cooper Rush started for CMU and completed 18-of-23 passes for 223 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
Saylor Lavallii started in place of the injured Thomas Rawls (knee). He rushed 24 times for 109 yards and two scores for Central Michigan (6-4, 4-2 MAC).
Devon Spalding had 18 carries for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
Titus Davis added a touchdown catch for CMU.
“I thought the story of the day was our defense,” CMU coach Dan Enos said. “We bottled up a very explosive offense and the quarterback run game.”
The Chippewas opened the scoring at the 11:45 mark of the first quarter – a 41-yard run from Lavallii. The touchdown capped a 3-play, 63 yard drive in just 1:10.
On CMU’s next drive, Lavallii punched in a score from inside the one, capping a 9-play, 69 yard drive that took 4:50.
CMU’s third touchdown was scored by Devon Spalding – a 42-yard run at the end of a 7-play, 64 yard drive that took 3:52 off the clock.
The Chippewas added to their lead with 3:28 left in the half - a 15-yard touchdown pass from Rush to Davis ending a drive that went 43 yards in four plays shaving 1:52 off the clock.
The Eagles trailed 31-0 at halftime – sealed by a 28-yard field goal from Brian Eavey.
Eastern went three-and-out on its first three drives of the game. Combined with bad punts from Owen Dubiel, the Chippewas had good starting field position for much of the first half.
Neither team scored in the third quarter – the second consecutive game where the Eagles and their opponents were held scoreless at that point of the game.
Spalding added to the CMU lead with 14:32 left in the fourth quarter on a 6-yard touchdown run. The Chippewa scoring drive – their longest of the day – spanned 83 yards in 12 plays, taking five minutes.
Eastern put points on the board late – with a 4-yard pass from Bolden to Darius Jackson at the 3:16 mark of the fourth quarter.
Creighton said the loss would not be something he would dwell on, but instead use it as a learning experience.
“After the game I just said [to the team] ‘We’re not going anywhere’,” he said. “We believe in [the team] and we believe in the program. We’ve shown that we can play. We can play at a high level. So we have to learn from today, but we’re also going to flush today. It’s going to be a regret – we’re going to look back on it and it’s going to be a regret.”
The Eagles will have a week off before traveling to Western Michigan on Nov. 15.
Eastern won its last matchup against the Broncos, 35-32 in overtime on Nov. 9, 2013. The win was the first for then-interim coach Stan Parrish.
Brumfield scored the game-winning touchdown for the Eagles. He finished the day with 148 yards on 15 carries. Hill rushed 24 times for 117 yards and a touchdown in the contest.
Western played Miami University-Ohio Saturday. The Broncos won, 42-10.
The listed attendance - tickets paid for by those who include corporate sponsors - was 19,613.
Saturday was also Band Day at Rynearson - nearly 1,200 high school students and their families were in attendance at the game.
Tyler Allen became Eastern's all-time leading kick returner - with 2,542 return yards.
Follow Al Willman on Twitter: @AlWillmanEcho