The battle of I-94. Bragging rights. The Michigan MAC trophy.
The 90th Homecoming game contained all that and more. However, it would be the in-state rivals that got the last laugh, as the Eastern Michigan Eagles (2-5, 0-3) dropped yet another overtime heartbreaker to the Western Michigan Broncos (5-3, 3-1) 20-17 Saturday Oct. 21 at Rynearson Stadium.
Near the end of regulation, Western Michigan chewed up the last three minutes of the clock, taking nine plays to put them within field-goal range. With three seconds left, the Broncos' 27-yard field goal attempt sailed right, sending the game into overtime.
EMU found success in the run game, as junior Ian Eriksen rushed for 93 yards on 24 carries. Sophomore Breck Turner also chipped in 39 yards and scored his first rushing touchdown of the season.
Quarterback Brogan Roback was 28-for-44 for a season-high 308 yards and one touchdown. It was the ninth career game with 300 yards passing or more. Defensively for EMU, it was senior Jason Beck and sophomore Brody Hoying leading the charge with 13 and 12 tackles each. Maxx Crosby also chipped in with 7 tackles and the game’ only QB sack.
“All I can say is that our guys put everything they have into this program, into this team, into preparation and fight their hearts out. I can’t ask for anything more than that,” Head Coach Chris Creighton said in his post-game press conference. “I’ve got to lead better, we have to keep getting better and honestly I think we have an opportunity for greatness, because everybody breaks, and folds and things cave in and our guys aren’t going to do that. Our resolve is going to continue to grow and get stronger. And there’s a lot of football left.”
The Eagles’ offense saw its best production of the season in yardage setting season highs in total offensive (459), passing (308), and rushing (213).
“The only way to generalize it is you look back and judge four, five, six critical plays in the game that make a difference,” Creighton said. “What I’ve said for twenty-five years and will continue to is ‘special teams and turnovers’, you know, win and lose football games.”
The Eagles have a short week of practice before they travel to DeKalb, IL to take on the Huskies of Northern Illinois University on Thursday Oct. 26. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.