From EMUEagles.com: he Eastern Michigan University football team dropped another heartbreaking one-possession contest, this time by one point, 28-27, to Army West Point Saturday afternoon, Oct. 14, at Michie Stadium. The Eagles scored with less than a minute left to go down one, but the two-point conversion was stopped just an inch short to deal EMU its fourth straight close loss of the season.
Read complete coverage of the exciting game and see post-game videos here.
Listen to WEMU's broadcast coverage of the game here:
Post game coverage from EMU Athletics: The Eagle offense highlighted the game for EMU, as it put up 364 total yards, its second-highest output of the season, including a season-high 135 yards on the ground. Leading the ground attack was junior Ian Eriksen (Clarkston, Mich.-Clarkston) who tallied the first 100-yard game of the season for an EMU back, finishing with 107 yards on 20 carries. It was the third 100-yard game of his EMU career, and put him over the 1,000-yards milestone for his career.
In the passing game, senior Brogan Roback (Maumee, Ohio-Toledo St. Johns Jesuit) finished with 229 yards, including a career-high four touchdown passes to three different wideouts. On the receiving end, senior Sergio Bailey II (San Diego, Calif.-Olympian (Grossmont College)) finished one-yard shy of 100, finishing with 99 yards on career-high tying eight receptions and his first career two-touchdown game. The other two TD receptions were caught by senior Antoine Porter (San Francisco, Calif.-Mission (City College of SF)), the third of his season, and sophomore Mathew Sexton (Clinton, Mich.-Clinton), the first of his career.
Defensively, EMU faced Army's triple option attack head on, as the Black Knights gained all 413 yards on the ground, going 0-for-5 through the air. Leading the charge was sophomore Vince Calhoun(Middletown, Ohio-Middletown) and junior Kyle Rachwal (Lapeer, Mich.Lapeer East) who had 12 and 11 stops, respectively. In addition, senior Jason Beck (Indianapolis, Ind.-Arsenal Tech) finished with seven tackles, which put him over 300 career tackles in his EMU career.
After winning the coin toss, EMU took the ball and got to work, driving 75 yards in eight plays to strike first. Roback got things started with quick passes to junior Eddie Daugherty (Mentor, Ohio-Mentor) and Sexton for a first down. Then a 23-yard toss to Bailey II moved EMU into Army territory. Roback continued to air it out, completing a 12-yard pass to Sexton, which was followed by a 10-yard Eriksen rush to get to the 18.
Two plays later, Roback found Bailey II in the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown strike, putting EMU on the board first. The touchdown gave Roback 44 touchdown passes for his EMU career, passing E-Club Hall of Famer Walter Church for second on the all-time Eastern Michigan list.
The Black Knights responded immediately, embarking on a 14-play, 93-yard drive that chewed up nearly nine minutes to tie up the ballgame at seven apiece. With 2:49 left in the first quarter, EMU got the ball back on its second drive.
EMU appeared to be stalled deep within their own territory on the ensuing drive, but on a third and long, Roback lobbed a pass, which Bailey II came down with for a gain of 19 yards and a first down. Two plays later, Eriksen scampered 23 yards, the longest rush from scrimmage this season for Eastern, to get to the Army 44 and run out the quarter.
To start the second, EMU was backed up five yards on a penalty, but found pay dirt on the next play. Roback, with all day to throw, found A. Porter over the middle, and the wide out dragged a defender the final few yards for a 45-yard score. It marked the longest offensive play of the season for EMU, capping off the longest drive on the year, and put the Eagles back up, 14-7.
The lead proved to be short lived, as Army went on another long drive, this time 75 yards in 11 plays, taking 6:12 off the clock. With 8:17 until halftime, the game was all-square, 14-14. The next drive for each EMU and Army resulted in their first respective punts, giving the Eagles the ball back with 2:40 until halftime.
On third down and six, with the clock winding down, Roback looked down the middle, but was intercepted. Army returned the ball to midfield, where it took over with 1:26 left on the clock. After a few rushes and its first three passing attempts of the game, Army faced fourth and eight from the EMU 33. The hail mary pass fell incomplete, keeping it 14-all into the half.
Army started with the ball to begin the second half, and used a pair of long rushes to get to the Eastern 41. From there, EMU tightened up with a pair of tackles for loss from junior Jeremiah Harris (Lambertville, Mich.-Bedford Senior) and Derric Williams (Lake Orion, Mich.-Lake Orion), to keep Army from advancing any further, setting up fourth down. In punt formation, Army faked, and passed down the middle, but it was dropped, giving Eastern the ball back on downs.
Despite the good field position, Eastern was forced to punt after five plays, setting up Army at its own six with just under nine minutes left in the quarter. After two short rushes made it third and three, Army's quarterback broke free on a rush, gaining 69 yards to get to EMU's 18. Four plays later, Army found the end zone for the score, taking its first lead of the game, 21-14.
Needing to keep pace, Eastern utilized the ground game to march its way down the field on the ensuing drive. Eriksen and sophomore Breck Turner (Norwalk, Ohio-Norwalk) combined for 37 yards, to go along with 12 and 14-yard passes to Bailey II and Sexton, respectively, to get the Eagles down to the Army 12 at the end of the third quarter. EMU faced third and six from the eight to start the final quarter, as Roback rolled out and found Sexton in the end zone for his third TD pass of the game, tying the game up at 21.
The Black Knights responded to the EMU score with their longest drive of the game, spanning just under nine minutes. In 16 plays, all rushes, Army went 83 yards on the scoring drive, giving the Black Knights the lead back, 28-21, and leaving 5:06 on the clock for the Eagles.
EMU got things started with a 10-yard pass to Bailey II, but were then stopped for short gains on back-to-back rushes, setting up third and three. Flushed out of the pocket, Roback threw up a prayer, which was hauled in by senior Jaron Johnson (Moreno Valley, Calif.-Rancho Verde (Mt. San Jacinto College))for a 17-yard gain, giving EMU a fresh set of downs at the Army 41.
Two plays later, EMU faced another third down, this time third and seven. A pass interference call bailed the Eagles out, making it first down from the 23 with about two minutes to go. A nine-yard pass to J. Johnson, followed by rushes from Erisken moved the ball down to the Army eight.
On the 11th play of the drive, Roback connected with Bailey II for his fourth TD pass of the game, and Bailey's second. Playing for the win, Eastern ran an option play, but Eriksen was stopped inches shy of the goal line, keeping it a one-point game, 28-27, with 49 seconds left. The ensuing onsides kick was recovered by the Black Knights, and they ran out the clock to hand the Eagles the narrow defeat.
EMU returns home to "The Factory" at Rynearson Stadium for the 97th Homecoming, Saturday, Oct. 21, against MAC West rival Western Michigan University. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.
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