After Akron settled for an overtime field goal, the Eastern Michigan University Eagles punched into the endzone for an overtime touchdown Tuesday at Rynearson stadium, racking up a 30-27 win for the last home game of the season.
It was a cold 42-degree evening, and senior night as the football team (5-6, 3-4 Mid-American Conference) returned home to host the University of Akron (2-9, 1-6 MAC) for Midweek MACtion in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Eighteen seniors were honored before the game for their contributions to the program, which included Steven Bird, Luke Cameron, Londyn Craft, Brain Dooley, Dimitri Douglas, Hamze El-Zayat, Samson Evans, Adrian Gonzalez, Mikey Haney, Korey Hernandez, Alex Howie, Chase Kline, Tanner Knue, T.J. Peavy, Kempton Shine, Joe Sparacio, Dan Sunderman, and Elijah Williams.
The senior class was arguably one of the most successful and storied that EMU has ever seen, as they accumulated 28 wins, a Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Championship, a Michigan MAC Trophy, and a MAC West Division Championship in 2022.
"Those  guys who just played their final game on the gray turf, in The Factory, it's emotional every time," head coach Chris Creighton said in a postgame news conference held by EMU Athletics. "It's hard to imagine coaching a team with some of those guys not on it."
The first quarter Tuesday would see a scoreless bout between both squads until the Zips would run things in the second quarter as Tahj Bullock would score from one yard out to put Akron up, 7-0, with 11:54 left in the quarter. Eagles running back Samson Evans would match things with five minutes left in the second to put things at 7 all.
Akron would then take the lead back shortly after as running back Lorenzo Lingard would then find the endzone for a 7-yard rushing touchdown to put the score at 14-7 in favor of the Zips. Once again, EMU's Evans would not back down as he capped off a nine-play, 59-yard drive to score from two yards out to even the score at 14-14, with 1:27 left in the second quarter.
The scoring would come to a halt until the fourth quarter with eight minutes left when Akron's Owen Wiley would convert a 23-yard field goal to give Akron the lead, 17-14. Checkmate was definitely in play once again as EMU would even the score, 17-17, as kicker Jesus Gomez would drill a 32-yard field goal with 10 seconds left to take the game to overtime.
The Eagles would open overtime swinging as Evans would find the endzone for his third time on the night to put EMU ahead, 24-17. Akron would then force a second overtime as wide receiver Jake Newell would find Bullock for six.
The Zips' offense would march out first in the second overtime but the Eagles' defense would hold them to a field goal. EMU would then take a swing on offense as they punched it down to the 3-yard line where quarterback Austin Smith would throw the go-ahead jump pass to tight end Jere Getzinger to walk it off for the Eagles and secure the win, 30-27.
Evans would finish the game with 15 carries for 71 rushing yards and three touchdowns, while Smith threw for 214 yards and one passing touchdown.
"The goal each and every week is to get better, and you don't want to make the same mistakes in games,” Smith said after the game. “I love these guys, we're a close group. I love them all, and to the seniors, I love them and they have helped me so much.”
Next up, the Eagles will travel to Buffalo, New York, for a regular season closer against the University at Buffalo on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN2.