The Eastern Michigan University football team is officially back for the 2022-23 season. The Eagles kicked off their season against Eastern Kentucky on Friday, Sep. 2, inside The Factory. The Eagles beat Eastern Kentucky, 42-34.
The matchup between the two would mark the fifth matchup in history, where the Eagles trail Eastern Kentucky in the series, 1-3, with a tie also.
In the first half, the Eagles started off strong as safety Blake Bogan made a soaring interception in the endzone on Eastern Kentucky's first offensive drive. Later in the half, quarterback Taylor Powell found wide receiver Tanner Knue in the back of the endzone to put the Eagles up 7-3 with 10:39 left in the second quarter.
Later in the quarter, defensive lineman Melvin Swindle II forced an Eastern Kentucky fumble to put the Eagles back on offense, where running back Samson Evans would rush for an eight-yard touchdown to extend the lead, 14-3. Eastern Kentucky would add a touchdown at the end of the half to put the score at 14-10 going into halftime.
In the second half, Evans would take a direct snap and walk into the endzone for a two-yard touchdown to put the Eagles up 21-10 with 11:39 left in the third quarter. Later in the quarter, Powell would connect with Knue for another touchdown, their second connection of the night, to extend the lead, 28-10. Eastern Kentucky would fight back shortly after, as quarterback Parker McKinney rushed for a touchdown to cut the deficit and put the score at 28-17 with 4:38 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Powell would keep it himself and rush seven yards for a touchdown to extend the Eagles’ lead, 35-17 with 11 minutes left in the ballgame. Eastern Kentucky would continue to fight after a field goal, and a Dakota Allen touchdown grab put the score at 35-27 with 7:13 left in the ballgame. The Eagles would continue to score, as wide receiver Hassan Beydoun caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Powell to extend the score, to 42-27 with 3:22 left in the ballgame.
Eastern Kentucky would score once more to put the score at 42-34 with 1:10 left to play, but it wasn’t enough as the Eagles held off and won the ballgame 42-34.
Powell led the Eagles’ offense as he completed 21 of his 30 passes for 271 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. He also added a rushing touchdown as well. Evans would finish with 89 rushing yards on 15 carries and two rushing touchdowns. Wide receiver Dylan Drummond led the Eagles’ receiving core as he caught four receptions for 62 receiving yards. Beydoun finished with three receptions for 48 yards and one touchdown, as Knue finished with four receptions for 43 yards and two touchdowns.
On the defensive end, Bogan finished with one interception and four total tackles. Junior linebacker Chase Kline would finish nine total tackles, a team-high for the Eagles. Linebacker Joe Sparacio and junior defensive back T.J. Peavy each finished with eight total tackles, while sophomore defensive lineman Peyton Price finished with five total tackles.
Up next, the Eagles will travel to Lafayette, Louisiana on Saturday, Sep. 10, to take on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be nationally televised on the NFL Network.
For more information on the Eastern Michigan University football program, you can visit EMUEagles.com.