credit: Walt Middleton/EMU Athletics
Preston Hutchinson started as the Eagle’s quarterback and threw for 21/35 with 241 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Hassan Beydoun led receiving for the Eagles with nine receptions for 112 yards, and Thomas Odukoya broke out with two redzone touchdown grabs.
Kent State struck first with a 26-yard pass from quarterback Daniel Crum to Isaiah McKoy on a 4th and one. The Eagles didn’t get on the board until their second drive with a 34-yard field goal by Chad Ryland to put the score at 13-3 Kent State. The Eagles added a touchdown from Quarterback Preston Hutchinson to Thomas Odukoya for a 5-yard touchdown. Rylat missed the point after to put the score at 13-9 Kent State at the end of the first quarter. Kent State answered back with a six play, 73-yard drive that culminated in a 33-yard touchdown run by running back Xavier Williams.
“Hats off to Kent State, and we have a lot of things that we need to get better at,” EMU head coach Chris Creighton said after the game. “I thought our defense gave us a chance, but Coach Netherly didn’t feel as though we tackled as well as we needed to.”
With 9:43 to go in the second quarter, Kent State’s Dean Clark intercepted Hutchinson’s pass on the Kent State 43 yard line. Kent State then drove down the field to the Eagle’s four-yard line. On second and goal, Crum’s pass was intercepted by Noski Lafleur and returned to the Eagles’ 48-yard line. The Eagles then brought in Jairus Grissom to play quarterback, and were unable to capitalize on the interception, missing the field goal from the 52-yard line.
“We knew we were going to play him regardless in this first game, he’s super talented,” Creighton said. “He’s missed some time due to the craziness in the world, but he is someone who is electric, so we wanted to get him out there.”
The score going into halftime was 20-9 Kent State’s favor. In the second half, Hutchinson threw a 25-yard pass to Quian Williams to set up a one-yard run by Hutchinson to score with 2:57 left in the third quarter. The Eagles then attempted a two-point conversion, which they were unable to score.
Hutchinson led the Eagles to another touchdown to begin the fourth quarter on a 35-yard completion to Hassan Beydoun to set up Thomas Odukoya’s second touchdown to give Eastern Michigan it’s first lead of the night with a score of 20-23 Eastern Michigan.
Kent State answered back with a touchdown on their own off of an opportune pass interference call that gave the Golden Flashes a fresh set of downs off of an incomplete third and fifteen. With the score at 27-23 Kent State, the Eagles looked to drive down the field and score. However, on the Eagles’ 36-yard line, Hutchinson was picked off by Jeremiah Salaam, after which the Golden Flashes ran out the clock and ended the game.
“He threw two interceptions which you just can’t do and hope to win,” Creighton said. “We saw a lot of man coverage and they did a pretty good job disguising some of their man and zone. We asked him to take what the defense gives us, and overall I think he did a pretty good job of that.”
The Eagles will face Ball State Nov. 11 as their home opener at Rynearson Stadium. Without fans allowed in the stands, the game can be watched on ESPN+ or listened to on the radio at WEMU (89.1 WEMU-FM).