The Eastern Michigan Eagles (3-3, 0-2) fell to the Ball State Cardinals (3-3, 2-0) in their homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Rynearson Stadium. Eastern Michigan led 17-14 at halftime and had a lead as large as nine points before losing 29-23. The Eagles were led by Dylan Drummond, who had a team-high 72 receiving yards on six receptions.
“We just have to finish. We executed at points and we had some times where we had mishaps, where we didn’t execute as well and those times showed up,” said EMU quarterback Mike Glass III. “We have to do better on third downs to convert those. But I feel like we did a pretty good job of executing, we just have to finish.”
The Eagles got on the board first as Glass found former quarterback turned wide receiver Jairus Grissom on a jet sweep for a two-yard touchdown pass. Chad Ryland tacked on the extra point to give EMU a 7-0 lead. Ball State was able to answer back rather quickly, though, when QB Drew Plitt pushed the ball in from one yard out.
The next 10 minutes would be all Eastern Michigan as Glass led another long touchdown drive. The Eagles drove 78 yards in 12 plays and just under six minutes, capitalized by a one-yard touchdown run from Glass. Four minutes later, Ryland added another three points to the EMU lead with an impressive 52-yard field goal with 5:27 left in the second quarter.
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Ball State made up some ground with a long drive of their own, stretching 90 yards in 11 plays. Yo’Heinz Tyler caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from Plitt, which cut the Eagles lead to 17-14 at halftime. Even though the Eagles were leading by just three points, it felt like they were in control of the game. Glass had two total touchdowns in the opening half.
“We did a good job, we came out strong in the first half,” said Glass.
Eastern Michigan’s momentum continued into the beginning of the third quarter when Glass added his third touchdown of the day, another one-yard rush. Ryland’s kick was no good so the Eagles led 23-14, their largest lead of the game. The Cardinals were determined to stick around and their next drive kept them within striking distance.
Plitt faked a pitch and found Justin Hall wide open around the 30-yard line. Hall was able to catch and run down the far sideline and because of great downfield blocking, he was able to find the end zone untouched. Ryan Rimmler’s extra point cut the EMU lead to 23-21. The Eagles went to the fourth quarter with the lead but they failed to score on their next possession.
Ball State took advantage of the Eagles’ lack of offense, marching down the field for a one-yard TD rush from Plitt. The Cardinals went for the two-point conversion and converted to extend their lead to 29-23. The Eagles had multiple chances in the end of the game, but they turned the ball over on downs with five seconds left. Plitt took a knee to finish off the win.
“It was a hard and tough day. Played a good football team. I thought it was a really good football game,” said Eastern Michigan head coach Chris Creigton. “We turned it over more than they did. You know, we weren’t able to get as many first downs when we got to third down. They made a couple more plays than we did and it was a hard one for us to swallow.”
Next up, the Eagles face Western Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Rynearson Stadium.