YPSILANTI — The day started out not looking so promising but the weatherperson in the state of Michigan would not let the Eastern Michigan University football fan set in Rynearson Stadium with stormy weather and rain falling.
Eastern Michigan University rolled out the red carpet and welcomed an old time foe from a long time ago and open the home portion of the 2012 schedule.
Illinois State University Redbirds have not visited Eastern Michigan University since the fall of 1981 and the last time the Eagles defeated the Redbirds you have to go way back to Nov. 12, 1977 when the team was known as the Huron and Eastern Michigan University defeated Illinois State University 41-28 under that November sky at Rynearson Stadium.
Illinois State University still continue its winning ways in Ypsilanti by defeating the Eagles 31-14 in front of 7,654 sitting under gathering storm clouds across the Huron River Valley.
Eastern Michigan University committed nine penalties, lost two fumbles and three interception and when the defense did make a big play, the offense could not deliver the big play.
Last week after the defeat at Ball State University, Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English said he is looking for some kind of life from his team.
“It is all disappointing, I am disappointed,” English said after the game. “I thought that the want-to was there today but we are just not physical enough right now. We are getting pushed around if you look at the first two games, physically we are getting pushed around.”
The first quarter the Redbirds scored 10 unanswered points because of the Eastern Michigan University three glaring mistakes and it looked like English would continue to look for his team’s life.
The Eagles’ turnovers and a personal foul in the opening quarter cost the Eagles dearly on the field and on the scoreboard.
“First of all, the personal foul is uncalled for, we coach that the kids know that, so to jump over there. So what happens there is that they come right back and hit the big run they go up seven to nothing,” English said. We turn the ball over five times and you are not going win, turning the ball over five times.”
In the second quarter the Eagles found something that gave them some kind of spark, the lifeless defense began to make tackles and the offense found some room to operate and score some points, the Eagles scored 14 unanswered points and took the lead into the locker room at halftime.
Eastern Michigan University quarterback Alex Gillett found tight end Garrett Hoskins streaking down the field and the pass from Gillett arrived in the waiting hands of Hoskins who ran with a 32-yards touchdown pass.
“Teams know that we want to run the ball and they we are going to stay if you have watch us the last year and a half, the last 12 or 16 games, guys are going to be open it is just a matter of completing the ball,” English said. “Guys are open off of play action fake and that is what happen there and that is what happen last week at Ball State.”
Something else happen to the defense in the second quarter too, they found out if you stop the other team-then good things on offense will happen.
“I thought that they did a nice job, they really fought, they were really put in some very bad situation in both halves,” English said about his defense against the Redbirds. “We have some pride in that, the thing that soured me on the defense day today was the end of the game when we didn’t get them stopped, we know they are lining up and Iso on the ball and throwing the ball and we just didn’t get them stopped.”
“I was proud of some of the things that the defense did today,” English continued talking about his defense improvement. “They played with a lot of energy, they were put in several bad situations.’
The second score of the first half a 24 yard drive that lasted just 1:19 and ended when Gillett ran up the middle for five yards for the score and briefly grab the lead away from the Redbirds.
Gillett finished the day bruised but he showed his leadership qualities by coming back into the game after getting injured. He run 13 times for 49 yards and he threw the ball 25 times with 11 completion and three interception.
English said that Gillett sometimes just tries to do too much but he is improving.
The second half started just like the first half, Eastern Michigan University made too many penalties that stopped any kind of momentum that could have been carried over from the first half.
“The first thing I said at half time listen we get the ball. We can not allow them to win the field position battle,” English said. “So what do we do! We go out there we lose yardage and they have a short field and away you go. Right now if you look at our football team we were tied at the half last week, we were ahead at the half this week, we have to finish games and we are hurting ourselves turning the ball over I thought the team gave great effort.”
“What we are doing what we have right now is a team I think thought that they were better than they were. We play really good football teams,” English said. “This team reminds me of the 2007 Michigan team that they were fighting each other and fighting the coaches. Hopefully, we have there attention but right now, we are not a good football team, we are not a physical football team, we are not a well coached football team and that is what is showing up out there but we have been in this situation before and we are going to continue to coach and we are going to get our football team better.”
“And when we get back here for Homecoming, we will play the kind of football that we need to play,” English said about the future of his football team.
In the third quarter, the Eagles surrendered the lead and the defense began to play on their heels.
Illinois State University football coach Brock Spack and his assistance must have saw something and made an adjustment because the Redbirds’ defense crowed the line of scrimmage to stop the Eagles rushing game.
The Redbirds offense also found something about the Eastern Michigan University defense, they added more passing to the offense and their running game became better because the gaps were open wide because of the stretching of the offense and making the Eagles defense play wider gaps and Illinois State University scored 21 points in the second half.
Illinois State University gained 371 yards of total offense, the Redbirds tailback Darrelynn Dunn carried the ball 32 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
Redbird quarterback Matt Brown threw the ball 22 times and completed 14 for 155 yards and one touchdown.
“So far this year we have not proven that we can run the ball. We ran it 32 times for 103 yards people are loading up the box and forcing us to throw,” English said. “In my opinion that what I told them we don’t block anybody, we don’t knock anybody off the ball. We have not been able to run the ball this year.”
The day ended for Eastern Michigan University but English says that we will make the adjustments and fix the Eagles. English said the Eagles will get better as a football team and there is no need to panic at this time.
Next week the Eagles travel back to Indiana and inside Big Ten country. The Eagles will visit Purdue University with kickoff scheduled for noon at Ross-Ade Stadium.
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.