YPSILANTI — It was not too bad!
Eastern Michigan University did not win the game against Michigan State University but they did make the game an interesting contest.
The Spartans used the same formula that the previous teams that have found victory against the Eagles, keep it close in the first half and then just wait for the second half.
Michigan State University defeated Eastern Michigan University 23-7, in front of 74,204 inside Spartan Stadium and continuing the Eagles losing ways against the Big Ten.
Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English’s offense could not find consistency in the running game to overcome the 20 points scored by the Spartans in the second half and the defense could not stop Le’Veon Bell from having a career day.
“I thought the guys did a nice job of trying to tackle Bell – you know he is a load- but we have to finish better,” English said about his defense game plan for Bell. “For the most part, I thought the defensive staff had a good game plan and the guys did a good job executing that.”
Bell slash and pounded his way through the Eagles’ defense 36 times for 253 yards and one touchdown for the day. Bell’s work is the sixth best day a rusher in Spartan’s history. It was the second time in Bell’s career that he rushed for more than 200 yards.
“Eastern just stacked the box, I want to say they had eight or nine guys in the box every play,” Bell said about facing the Eagles’ defense. “Especially on first down and second down, the offensive line did a great job and allow me to hit the holes and get to the second level.”
Eastern Michigan University defense allowed the Spartans to gain 428 yards of total offense.
Eagles’ running back Javonti Greene ran for an unimpressive 31 yards on 10 carries to lead the ground attack for the Eagles.
Eastern Michigan University could only produce a total of 183 yards of offense against what English described as a pretty good defense.
English did not start quarterback Alex Gillett against Michigan State University ending his 30-game starting streak at that position. Instead, English decided to give the start for the Eagles to the redshirt-sophomore quarterback Tyler Benz from Park Ridge, Ill.
“I like him, I like him out there,” English said about his starting quarterback. “I like his poise against a hell of a defense. He was 13 of 26 for 137 and no picks I’ll take that all day long and a touchdown. He should’ve had two; but we dropped the ball.”
In the fourth quarter, Eagles’ wide receiver Donald Scott found himself getting the advantage and the angle on the Spartan pass defender and Benz saw Scott in the right place and the right time lifted the pass toward Scott.
What looked like a completed pass and that it would be a touchdown pass fell through Scott’s hands and bounce harmlessly to the Spartan Stadium turf.
“I saw him open and I saw the ball and I assumed it was a touchdown,” English said about the dropped pass. “So he didn’t pull it in, obviously I’m sure that he will be very, very disappointed. But you know, we have to rally around him, and that one play didn’t cost us the game.”
Scott did find the end zone in the second quarter and the Eagles capitalized on a Spartan fumble.
Benz found Scott on a post route and hit him in stride with a 23-yard touchdown pass giving the Eagles 7-3 lead at halftime.
Benz also found Eagle tight end Garrett Hoskins eight times for 102 yards-a career best for Hoskins.
If the Spartans were not giving the ball to Bell, then Michigan State University quarterback Andrew Maxwell was trying to complete passes and balance out the offense but according to Spartans’ football coach Mark Dantonio there were a lot of dropped throws by the receivers.
“You have to catch the ball. Throwing and catching,” Dantonio said about his receivers. “If there is nothing wrong with the route and the ball is there you have to catch it.”
The Spartan receivers dropped 10 passes against Notre Dame last weekend and against the Eagles, the Spartans dropped five passes.
The only receiver that could not drop a pass was Spartans’ tight end Dion Sims, he recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game with six receptions for 112 yards and one touchdown.
Maxwell threw the ball 26 times and completing 16 passes for 159 yards and he also ran the ball twice for 10 yards.
Next week the Eagles will be enjoying a bye week before they go back to work and prepare for a date with Kent State University at Rynearson Stadium, Saturday afternoon October 6, 2012, the game is schedule to kickoff at 1 p.m.
“Well I think that what we said all along, that we addressed our issues and they were internal, and so we saw these stretch of games as preparing for league play,” English said about the non-conference games. “Now we play an outstanding Kent State team in a couple of weeks here so we know our backs are up against the wall. We all ready have a conference loss, so we expect these guys to really prepare and give ourselves a chance.”
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.