Ypsilanti – Even the gray and overcast sky could not dampen the festivites of this year’s Homecoming celbration.
Eastern Michigan University football team managed to foil the Homecoming atmosphere by losing 30-17 to Ohio University in front of 16,753 wet and chilly fans.
Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English said after the game his team played a highly comptiteve game during the first half but he seemed disappointed with the loss of the team’s focus in the second half.
“I really thought that the game, there were a couple of plays in the third quarter kind have self-inflected and the game got away from us a little bit,” English said. “We had chances to make it competitive offensivly and did not convert everybody hurts the kids and the coaches. I do not think we played well enough obviously to win the game.”
The defense could not tackle anybody the Ohio University offense sent out of the backfield especilly quarterback Boo Jackson and tailback Vince Davidson, the Eagle defensive backfield could not cover any of the Bobcat recievers and the mistakes of ill-timed penalties still plague this team.
“It takes 11 guys, we had some assignment errors in there that really hurt us,” English said describing his defense’s effort today. “In the defense today when they spread you out they run three or four reciever sets everybody is assign to a guy when you do not take your guy big plays occur and we had a guy that did not take his guy a couple of times.”
The offense in the first half had the crowd and themselves in the magic of the day, the offense moved the ball with some type of balance and even reached into the bag of tricks and produced a momentum carring play the other was a bad experiment that blew up the momentum for the Eagles.
With the ball setting on the Eastern Michigan University 44-yard line, the Eagles offense faced a fourth down and one yard for a first down but English had his team line up in punt formation.
Eagle long snapper Mike Zupancic passed the ball directly to tight end Ben Thayer who took the ball up the middle made a quick move to his right and sprinted 32 yards down the field putting the ball on the Ohio 24 yard line giving the Eagle offense another breath of life.
English tried to reach into that bag of tricks again in the third quarter but this time the play did not work and the Eagles turn the ball over on downs.
Punter Jay Karutz took the snap from Zupancic and started to move to his left got around the end but there were no blockers and the play was stopped by Ohio University defense after a gain of three yards
“We want to check with me all of the time because of some of the things they were doing. I make those calls, I am the guy,” English said about the fake punt calls. “It was a check with me if we got a certian look and that is why we fake the first one we got the look we wanted so we hit it and the second one we got the look we wanted too but we just are punter did not get out there.”
Eagle quarterback Alex Gillett did not waste any of the magic and did not let the gamble of the fake punt go for nothing, he lifted a pass toward the corner and wide reciever Kinsman Thomas who reached up and tucked the pass away while gracefully scrapping his left toe inside the end zone for the score.
What magic that seemed to be in the atmosophere during the first half and like the rabbit in the hat the Eagles just dissapeared in the second half. The defense gave away 20 unanswered points.
“We had an excellient third quarter and that was key for us,” Ohio University football coach Frank Solich said about his team’s performance in the second half. “Our defense gave us opportunity offensivly to put some drives together and our guys responded.”
Starting the second half both teams came out of the locker room tied 10-10 and Eastern Michigan University recieved the second half kickoff and taiback Dwayne Priest second play of the second half split the defense up the middle for a 52 yard gain setting up the Eagles offense at the Ohio 26-yard line but poor play execution and the play stalled with no scoring only seemed to fuel the momentum dish for the Bobcats.
At the start of the fourth quarter the Eagle offens put together a nine play scoring drive that covered 91 yards and ending when Priest plunged into the line of scrimmage for one yard and the touchdown cutting into the Bobcat lead and giving some ray of hope to the Eagle fans braving the wet chilly air.
Later in the fourth quarter on two occasions in the same drive looking at a short yardage situation, the Eagle offense could not gain one yard to keep the ball and give the Eagle a fighting chance to make the game into an intresting contest.
“Block people!” English said about his team’s effort in the short yardage situation. “If you can not convert on third and one or fourth and one, I do not think you can win - if you can not convert those downs and distances. I think after we build this program we will go for it on those downs and distances but our guard and center got knocked back and allowed pentatration.”
“We try to teach this to our guys one guy effect them all so if you are that one guy then you got to do your job so on these plays your are hoping that there are not multiple guys making errors right now there were a handful of plays honestly it was just one guy,” English said. ” I think there were four or five plays that cost us the game.”
Next week the Eagles will take to the road trip into Southeastern Conference country for a night game against an improved Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, the game is scheduled to kickoff at 6 p.m.
The gray sky is getting darker and the mood inside the Eastern Michigan University locker room is feeling the storm as the clouds gather.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.