YPSILANTI, Mich. —- Eastern Michigan University football did something for the first time this season, they showed up at Rynearson Stadium and actually played a football game, the way Eagle fans have been hoping for all season long.
The Eagles defeated the United States Military Academy 48-38, for the first win of the season and ending an eight game losing streak dating back to the final two games from last season.
Eastern Michigan University found and used a strong ground game which opened up the passing game for Eagles’ quarterback Tyler Benz.
Benz threw a school record five touchdown passes, completing 19 of 31 for 369 yards and one interception.
“The offense is pretty fun, like do what the way we’re coached to do and execute you will put up a lot of points,” Benz said after the game. “ It is a fun offense to be in.”
The Eagle offense is improving enough for Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English and he likes the development of his quarterback.
“I think he is going to be an excellent quarterback, he has a lot of weapons all those skilled kids can play,” English said about his quarterback and his offense. “The line did a nice job in protecting him. I am pleased with what he is doing and he’s got a way to go but he has a lot of weapons to work with. ”
The Eagle offense finished the game with 577 yards of total offense, the offense ran a total of 78 plays and went 8 of 17 in third-down conversions.
“Right now offensively, I think what we would be, I thought we would be very good on offense and that had been a disappointment,” English said about his team’s performance against Army. “We did some good things but we also we had (Justin) Cudsworth playing at the Mike which he hidden play. Mycal Swaim was playing the free safety, which was his first start and Kevin Johnson went out early, so our plan was to rotate those two but we couldn’t do that.”
“It opens up the passing game a lot,” Benz said about the addition of tailback Bronson Hill in the backfield. “Using him as a receiver it is nice to have.”
Hill made his first start last week against the University of Toledo, all he did was score tying an Eastern Michigan University record for scoring four touchdowns and he ran for 238 yards which is second best in school history.
Against Army’s defense, Eastern Michigan University found success on the ground with the addition Hill to the backfield, with a blend of inside runs and outside sweeps with Dominique Sherrer, Ryan Brumfield, Javonti Greene and Hill.
Hill ran 26 times for 185 yards and one touchdown, he also caught three passes for 67 yards.
The Eagle ground game rushed for 208 yards.
The success of the running game has suddenly given tight end Garrett Hoskins a chance to get open and catch passes from Benz.Hoskins led all of the receivers on the field with seven catches for 158 yards and one touchdown.
English said Hoskins is a fantastic player and will be able to play at the next level.
“He has just to keep going and finish the year bit I certainly told him that he is a guy who I have seen a lot of guys like him that can be H-back type of guy that can be used,” English said about Hoskins. “He is going to have a chance to make money playing football but he has to prove he is tough enough to do that and that is going to come in the next five games.”
Army spotted Eastern Michigan University 14 points in the first quarter, the Eagle running back Hill dipped and slid past the Army defense and Greene came out of the backfield on a wheel route and caught Benz’s 39-yard pass for the first touchdown of the day and for the first time this football season scoring a touchdown on the first possession of the game.
Leading halftime 28-17, the Eagles’ offense looked like the offense that has been expected this season and the Eagles’ defense made that one important stop against Army.
The Eagle defense did enough to keep the Black Knights from gaining any kind of momentum and English said they did an okay job.
“ It is just a shame because, I told the defense Army should get half the points. You get a fourth down stop, then you get a foul and things like that. I thought that the defense did enough. to keep us ahead. Those two plays in option football really one guy,” English said. “We struggle with the growing pains with this defense and that is a positive.”
That one guy that kept the Eagle defense busy Saturday afternoon , Army’s quarterback Trent Steelman. He ran for 212 yards and scored two touchdowns, the Black Knights rushed for 413 yards and finished the game with a total of 478 yards.
“ We are still trying to do more, to be more consistent,” English said. “I think that is what sticks in the crawl of the defense, is that they play good for a long stretch and they give up a play so the individual defensive player but the important thing today is that they helped us win the game.”
There is nothing sweeter than getting that first win of the season and for the Eagles they will enjoy the victory for about one day and then it will be back to business preparing for next Saturday afternoon in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Eastern Michigan University will get back to Mid-American Conference play next week against Bowling Green State University at Doyt L. Perry Stadium, the kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.
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.