MAC Football Scoreboard: Saturday, Nov. 9th
Eastern Michigan 35, Western Michigan 32 (OT) Final Stats
YPSILANTI, Mich. — Eastern Michigan secured its second victory of the 2013 campaign in an overtime thriller against Mid-American Conference foe Western Michigan University, 35-32. One day after former EMU Head Football Coach Ron English was relieved of his duties, Interim Head Coach Stan Parrish led the Green and White to its first MAC win of this season. The Eagles improve to 2-8 (1-5 MAC), while the Broncos drop to 1-9 (1-5 MAC).
The victory was led by the ground attack, as the Eagles rushed an EMU record-breaking 44 carries for 264 yards, which ranks as the third-highest rushing yardage in Green and White laurels. Two players surpassed the century mark, as junior running back Ryan Brumfield ran career-high 148 yards on 15 carries to lead the Eagles, nearly doubling his previous mark of 79 rushing yards. Brumfield also ran in another career-high in touchdowns, leading the squad with two. Junior running back Bronson Hill was the second player to run over 100 yards, as his 108 yards on 23 carries also resulted in a touchdown.
Freshman quarterback Brogan Roback threw 9-of-22 for 132 yards with one touchdown and additionally rushed for a touchdown of his own. Junior tight end Tyreese Russell led on the receiving end, amassing 76 yards in the win. Defensively, senior defensive back Donald Coleman led the squad with 14 tackles, while sophomore linebacker Ike Spearman had a career game with 13 stops and one interception.
The Broncos were led in scoring by kicker Andrew Haldeman, who was six-of-six on field goal attempts. Zach Terrell was 24-0f-39 for 348 yards, and Corey Davis and Kendrick Roberts each had over 100 yards in receiving.
Following an Allen return, Roback threw to the right sideline twice to Russell for a combined 36 yards. Once in Bronco territory, the ball was handed off to Brumfield, who rushed 9 yards on his first jaunt down the field and then managed to find an opening to sprint down the left side of the field for 23 yards to score the first touchdown of the contest. The four plays were executed in less than two minutes to give the Eagles an early lead, 7-0.
Western Michigan took its time on the first Bronco drive of the afternoon, and practically mirrored the EMU strategy used in the opening minutes of the matchup. Terrell aired it out on the first handful of plays, relying heavily on Eric Boyden before a trio of handoffs to Brian Fields gave the Broncos their first touchdown in a first quarter for the season, with an extra point serving as an equalizer.
After a pass by Roback was picked off by WMU's Justin Currie, Eastern's defense managed to keep the Bronco offense in the stables, as Great Ibe racked up a tackle for loss to put WMU in a third-and-eight situation. Terrell attempted to convert on his second third-down of the afternoon, but junior Willie Creear was able to read the play and knock away the pass, forcing the Broncos to call on Haldeman to attempt a 48-yard field goal, which he managed to direct through the posts and put the Green and White at a 10-7 disadvantage going into the second quarter.
A penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct by a Bronco player gave the Eagle defense a chance to capitalize on a first-and-25 situation. After preventing Western from gaining enough ground for a first down, senior defensive lineman Kalonji Kashama racked up his third sack of the season to keep the Broncos out of field goal range and surrender a punt to the Green and White.
Hill rushed for a combined 26 yards before Roback would throw a 30-yard lob to Russell to nab the Eagles' first third-conversion down of the game. Hill continued to rush for the Eagles, sprinting through the center of the field to move the chains and bust through another third-down play. As the defense keyed in on Hill, expecting the junior running back to carry the ball in the ensuing play, Roback faked a handoff and cut away from the defensive line to find a wide open path to the end zone. The freshman quarterback scored the first rushing touchdown of his career to launch the squad to a 14-10 lead over the Broncos.
Though Terrell launched a season-long 59-yard pass to Kendrick Roberts, freshman Quan Pace was able to take the wide receiver down at the EMU six-yard line. A rush by Fields put the Broncos just one yard shy of the end zone, but his next rush was stopped by the sophomore duo of Ibe and Pat O'Connor. Senior linebacker Sean Kurtz was able to rush Terrell to throw an incomplete pass and force the Broncos to concede a field goal. The Green and White was able to force two more incomplete attempted touchdown passes, but a third successful field goal from Haldeman swung the score in favor of the Broncos, 16-14 to close out the half.
The Broncos managed to make a run down the field to open up the third quarter, but a stop was made once they got 25 yards into EMU territory. After a Coleman tackle for loss, Kashama brought down Terrell for his second sack of the contest. Redshirt-freshman Mike Steals also found the opportunity to take the Bronco quarterback to the turf, forcing a punt into the hands of the Eagles.
Brumfield amassed a solid 65 yards rushing in five consecutive plays as he ran the ball within 15 yards of the goal line. Roback then turned to Hill to take over the rushing duties for the remainder of the drive as he scored the third rushing touchdown of the game. An extra point by sophomore kicker Dylan Mulder gave a 21-16 lead back to the Green and White.
The lead would change once again as a 70-yard pass to Corey Davis resulted in a quick score for Western. A fumble on the play in Eastern's next possession surrendered the ball into Bronco hands, capped by a field goal thanks to WMU's top-scoring Haldeman.
As the contest stood at a one-touchdown game at the start of the final quarter, the Eagles were able to pick off one of Terrell's passes as Spearman grabbed his second career interception. The Green and White could not score on its next drive as a rush by Hill on a fourth-down attempt was unable to break through the Bronco defensive line. Haldeman would later sail his fifth field goal through the posts to increase the scoring gap as Eastern trailed 29-21.
With less than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, Roback was able to find sophomore wide receiver Dustin Creel for his first catch of the game on a 19-yard throw to break out of a third-down. Roback leapt over a defender on fourth down to gain seven yards, and kept the Eagles' drive alive. As the clock ran down to 56 seconds, the Eagles took a time out to deliberate how to handle the fourth-and-two with the line of scrimmage just 10 yards away from the goal line. Roback found Creel on the right sideline, who ran through the clear lane to the end zone. In need of a two-point conversion, the ball was handed off to Brumfield, who found Roback on the right with an uncontested route across the line ahead of him. The Eagles were able to knot the score, 29-29, and force the overtime period.
After winning the toss prior to overtime, the Eagles elected to play defense first. EMU held the Broncos to another Haldeman field goal before the Green and White took over on the offensive side of the ball.
The Eagles started their offensive run in overtime with a pass from Roback to Russell for a first-down off a 10-yard lob. Brumfield carried the ball an additional 10 yards to nab a first-and-goal from the five yard line. Brumfield finished the game with a five yard jaunt into the endzone, putting the Green and White the win with a final tally of 35-32.
Eastern runs into its final bye week before taking on Bowling Green State University at Rynearson Stadium. The game with the Falcons will serve as EMU's Senior Day. The Eagles' final home game is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Ypsilanti.