YPSILANTI, Mich. — Please do not disturb Mother Nature!
The unseasonable temperature made Saturday afternoon a delight to watch a football game at Rynearson Stadium in the city where the sweet water of the Huron River gently and quietly drift away toward the rest of the world.
The delight and smiles were only around for a short time, Central Michigan University waited patiently but defeated the Eastern Michigan University Eagles 34-31, in front of 4,081 in side the historic home of the Eagles-Rynearson Stadium.
Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English reached into his bag of tricks and called upon quarterback or wide receiver Alex Gillett depending on English’s mood to help the Eagles.
English said after the game he thought that Gillett gave his team the best chance to find victory against the Chippewas.
“He gave us the best chance to win,” English said about putting Gillett in the game at the start of the second half. “This is what I told the guys, this is the deal. I respect the way that they played today. We don’t play well for longer enough of period of time yet but I respect how hard they play.”
Gillett finish the day 7 of 17 for 77 yards with one touchdown pass and Gillett also ran the 14 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
The first quarter provided plenty of points for the Eagles, scoring two touchdowns.
The first score came after Eastern Michigan University defense forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Central Michigan University 20-yard line.
Central Michigan University wide receiver Titus Davis made the catch from Chippewas quarterback Ryan Radcliff only to get the ball stripped by linebacker Andy Mulumba and recovered by cornerback Marcell Rose giving the Eagles offense great field position and converted the turnover into a touchdown.
Eastern Michigan University quarterback Tyler Benz hit tight end Tyreese Russell on a skinny post play for a 19-yard scoring pass.
Benz finished the day at the end of the first half completing 7 of 9 for 43 yards and one interception and ran for 14 yards but his day ended when English replaced Benz at the start of the second half of the game.
“This is what I saw, he is young, I just seen him not getting rid of the ball and taking sacks,” English said about the reason for putting Benz on the bench for the second half. “I just thought, in a game were we are really are trying to win for a lot of reasons, I honestly thought that Alex gave us the best chance to win.”
The second score of the day for the Eagles came with 1:28 left in the first quarter when Gillett took the snap from Mike Zupancic and lifted up the ball and his knee and up through the middle for 21-yards and into the end zone.
“Yeah nobody else can call a fake field goal here,” English said about his decision to call the fake field goal. “It was Doug Downing I wanted to run option but he said ‘coach I’ve run this three times and it is a touchdown every time and I bet your paycheck it is a touchdown.’ Thank God I didn’t have to give my paycheck but Doug Downing our receiver coach really that is his play, he did a great job of coaching it.”
Suddenly the fate of the game placed in the hands of the Eastern Michigan University defense.
The Eagle fans are use to watching a defense that fails to deliver any kind of stop. Finally that defense showed up in the second quarter and the Chippewas offense found success by just being patient and Eagle defense players making too many missed tackles.
“We are playing with two true freshman, one second year man, one first year man and all of the safeties are new,” English said about his defensive backfields performance.
Remember that the Eagle defense is the worst defense in the Mid-American Conference and that includes trying to stop the run and sometime in the second quarter the defense that poor defense showed up and played the rest of the contest against the Chippewas.
The Chippewas offense led by Radcliff, he completed 34 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns and did not throw an interception and by the running of halfback Zurlon Tipton who cut through the Eagles defense 21 times for 116 yards and one touchdown.
“It is a game of inches, it is a game of who makes one more play than the other team,” Central Michigan University football coach Dan Enos said about his team’s victory after the game. “Who knows, if we don’t convert that third down there at the end and we have to punt. At the end of the day, you got to put your guys in to make plays.”
Eastern Michigan University football season is ticking down with just two more game left on the schedule and English said that the clock is ticking for everybody.
“What we really have tried to accomplish for the last half of the season is to improve and to get better,” English said about the direction of the Eagles football program is heading. “A lot of these guys will play next year. A lot of this roster, this is there first time, that we have to actually have to count on them to perform to win football games.
“Some of the guys played eight, 10 or 12 snaps a game or 20 snaps a game but never 50 percent of the snaps or all of the snaps,” English continued. “Any time you have a program what you try to do is develop the guys for the future. We want to win now, we want to get them to do there best but we also have an eye on the future.”
English said that he will keep coaching the team and keep the program going forward.
“We all know that there is a clock ticking on all of us,” English said. “We know that!”
Eastern Michigan University will be on the road next Saturday afternoon at the world-famous Waldo Stadium in the city of Kalamazoo and the campus of Western Michigan University. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 2 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.