WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Eastern Michigan University football team endured the four hour bus ride from the city that is located in the middle of the golden triangle of Southeast Michigan to the historic shore of Tippecanoe Creek and right in the middle of the Big Ten Conference.
Purdue University ran through Eastern Michigan University and defeated the Eagles 54-16 to place the Boilermakers right back on the winning track for the season and forgetting the loss at Notre Dame. The Eagles are still searching for a win or something positive for the rest of the season.
The inability of the Eagles’ defense to win the field position battle and the result of giving up three drives of 95,98 and 99 yard scoring drives is a glaring point of concern for Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English.
The Eagles defense gave up 33 points in the first half, the Boilermakers’ offense really had no problem with Eastern Michigan University’s defense in rolling up 576 yards which included 392 yards on the ground.
In front of 40,217 inside Ross-Ade Stadium and it took some time but finally with 3:35 left in the first quarter, Purdue’s running back Akeem Shavers took the ball and went right through the middle of the field and scored on a 40-yard run.
“Right now we are not finishing tackles and I think Purdue does have some speed that exposed us a little,” English said after the game outside the locker room. “Our guys came out very focused and wanted to play hard and wanted too improve and I do think we did improve in some areas but our tackling was not one of them but Purdue big plays definitely set the tone for the game in the first half.”
The second score by Purdue University in the first quarter came when quarterback Caleb TerBush scrambled away from the Eastern Michigan University rush and found wide receiver Antavain Edison cutting across the backline of the end zone wide open for the 18-yard touchdown completion for the score.
“We have a lot of team speed. We try to get the ball into our fastest player’s hands that way we are able to manufacture big plays,” Purdue University football coach Danny Hope said after the game. “Akeem Hunt got the ball and he was big for us today. We recruit class sprinters, that is the way we set up our team.”
With 13:04 left in the first half, Eastern Michigan University defense made a statement play by intercepting a TerBush pass and getting back the ball into the end zone for the touchdown.
Eagles’ strong safety Pudge Cotton sat in the hole and waited for the pass he reached out and picked the ball out of the Ross-Ade air and ran back 28 yards for the score and cutting into the Boilermakers’ lead.
“He did a nice job in terms of moving his feet and covering the guy and then getting the interception for the touchdown,” English said about the contribution that his strong safety Cotton made for the Eagles. “But then he is a really a second year player and so he has some errors in there missed some tackles took some bad angles but he did do some good things so I think he showed some improvement today.”
The first touchdown scored on an interception by the Eagles since the 2005 season against the University at Buffalo, when linebacker Michael Richardson scored for the Eagles
The following offensive series by the Boilermakers the Eagles defense created another turnover when defensive end Kalonji Kashama reached into the arms of wide receiver O.J. Ross after he caught a pass and stripped the ball away and Cotton pounced on the ball.
The Eagles could have used a touchdown but instead had to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Dylan Mulder.
“You move the ball against Purdue particular with there defensive front and the guys they have playing, you got to finish them with points,” English said about the importance about scoring and getting points. “And if you don’t it is going to snowball on you and that happen to us today. We missed an extra point in there, we just didn’t get enough points off those drives.”
The next possession by the Boilermakers illustrates the storyline of the season for the Eastern Michigan University and the Eagles’ defense this season.
A mishandled kickoff return by the Boilermakers Raceme Mosart with over nine minutes left in the half but the Eagles defense gave up a 99-yard scoring drive when TerBush connected with Akeem Hunt who sprinted down the sideline 50 yards for the score.
The big play for the Eagles’ defense came late in the first half when Purdue University tailback Brandon Cottom busted too many tackles and plowed his way for his career longest run of 87-yards to put the game out of reach for the Eagles.
TerBush added insult to the injury by ending the first half with a 2-yard run for his second touchdown of his career at Purdue.
Purdue received the opening kickoff of the second half and it did not take too long for the Boilermakers to end the dream of any come back, when Hunt scored his second touchdown of the day on Purdue’s second offensive possession of the second half.
Hunt busted through jetted to the right side line and away he went for 56-yards and the only thing that could catch Hunt was the glare from English at his defense as he stood there looking bewildered.
English basically threw in the towel by replacing his starting quarterback Alex Gillett with Tyler Benz midway in the third quarter.
“We wanted to get Tyler some reps,” English said about the change at quarterback. “Keep developing both guys, we are going to need them.”
English talked about his team’s development in handling adversity and about the character of his football team.
“There are two things that I take away from it, one is that I think our focus is back were it needs to be, two we need to get a lot better and three I just feel like we have got to find the right position at some positions on the team that allows us to win,” English said. “Right now we are seeing some guys who are not allowing us to win.”
“So we just have to find the right guys and make sure that they are in there,” English continued. “I did think our team is back listening, I do think that they are back wanting to play hard and having some pride about who they are.”
Next weekend the Eagles will continue the search for the right players and for a win inside Spartan Stadium at Michigan State University at 3:30 p.m. in East Lansing, Michigan.
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.