By Charles Post / WLAA
The Eastern Michigan Eagles traveled to Lexington, Ky., to try and upset the Kentucky Wildcats, but were unable to do so, as they fell 38-17, on Saturday, September 7 at Kroger Field.
The Eagles struggled to move the ball for much of the first half until senior
signal caller Mike Glass III exploded in the second half to finish with 337 yards. Eastern Michigan is now 1-1 on the season, while Kentucky improves to 2-0. Terry Wilson led the Wildcats with 114 passing yards.
The Wildcats were able to move the ball up and down the field in the first quarter. Although they didn’t score on their first possession, Kentucky gained 32 yards and flipped the field.
On their next two possessions, they scored a pair of rushing touchdowns. Asim Rose got the scoring started with a quick eight-yard sprint to the end zone. His backfield mate, Kavosiey Smoke, found the end zone later in the quarter to extend Kentucky’s lead to 14-0.
The Eagles, on the other hand, could not get anything going in the first half. Kentucky’s defense was putting pressure on Glass and he had minus 13 rushing yards in the first quarter. Kentucky, who went 10-3 last season in part because of their strong defense, continued to chase Glass in the second period. They would force two interceptions, the second of which came off a deflection.
Chad Ryland would add field goal for EMU to cut the halftime lead to 17-3.
“Their defensive front doesn’t let you run the football inside so we didn’t do that very effectively,” said Eastern Michigan head coach Chris Creighton. “We had to get them in a game where we spread them out and then run but not in the traditional way where you run on first down and try to get four. And then we were down 14-0 early and you’re trying to win the game so you have to get back into it.”
Following the halftime break, the Eagles seemed to come out with a lot more confidence. They started to move the ball more consistently, gaining 121 yards in the third period alone.
Wide receiver Line Latu was a big part of that as he caught a 26-yard strike from Glass to give the Eagles their first touchdown of the game. They weren’t able to stop the Wildcats on the other end, though, as Kentucky took a 24-10 lead into the fourth quarter, following a two-yard touchdown run by Wilson.
“He’s (Wilson) a good player. He’s an accurate quarterback. I know they’ve worked hard on that and he’s an absolute nightmare, in terms of his athleticism,” Creighton said. “They have a good offensive line and they can run it. It’s a tough recipe. We feel really bad that he was injured. We pray as a program that no one would be significantly injured. It’s not good to see that happen so we send him our thoughts and prayers.”
The Eagles would try to fight back in the fourth quarter as Glass kept trying to push the ball down the field but the defense wasn’t able to get enough stops to put any game pressure on the Wildcats. Kentucky would add two touchdowns in the fourth quarter while Bryson Cannon also caught a score for the Eagles. Glass finished with a game-high 337 passing yards on 54
attempts for two touchdowns and two picks. Ahmad Wagner had 71 receiving yards for the Cats.
“I was seeing the field well and the receivers were getting open for me. We just kept fighting. We wouldn’t give up and I felt like that’s what helped us,” Glass said following the game. “They were some solid guys. It was more of a passing game for us. I just didn’t put my line in the right position to block the right guys. I put that on me. It comes down to me and we’ll get that fixed. We’ll be solid next week.”
The Eagles head to Champaign, Ill., to face the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Memorial Stadium. The Fighting Illini are 2-0 to start the season with wins over Akron and Connecticut.
Former Michigan quarterback Brandon Peters threw for four touchdowns in their most recent win over the Huskies.