It took a lot for the men in green and white to run out of that tunnel in their last two games at Rynearson Stadium.
The day before their home game against the Ohio Bobcats, news broke out about teammate Demarius Reed's death. This time, head coach and defensive coordinator Ron English was fired once Heather Lyke found out about his tirade in the locker room.
"We just wanted to play a game that was a game" interim head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Stan Parrish said in the post-game press conference. "I think the kids played with a real purpose today."
With as atrocious as the defense has been all season long, the Eagles really stepped up in a big way. Though Western was 6-for-6 in their chances of scoring after getting into the red zone, four of those scores were field goals off the foot of Andrew Haldeman. On two occasions, the Broncos crossed the 50-yard line to enter Eastern Michigan territory and were forced to punt from 34 and 33 yard lines. Linebacker Ike Spearman also had an interception early in the fourth quarter.
For Western, Justin Currie intercepted a pass by freshman quarterback Brogan Roback on the Eagles' first play of their second drive, which would result in a WMU field goal, giving the Broncos a 10-7 lead.
"[Roback] played with a lot of heart. His stats weren't pretty, but it doesn't matter when you get a 'W'," Parrish said.
Let's give credit where credit is due: Brogan Roback did not play like freshman. Only completing nine out of his 22 attempted passes for 136 yards, seven of those completions were either for first downs or touchdowns. Tyreese Russell was Roback's most-used receiver, having four catches for 76 yards.
Down 29-21 and starting from their own 25-yard line with a little under seven minutes to go in regulation, Roback, with the help of his two running backs, drove down the field and ended with a 10-yard play action touchdown pass to Dustin Creel. Down by 2 with less than a minute to go, you can't not try to tie it up.
Who doesn't love trick plays?
In what looked like a toss play to Ryan Brumfield running to the left, he took the toss, took three steps and swung the ball back to Roback complete the two-point conversion.
With less than a minute left, the Broncos were held to a three-and-out, sending the ball game into overtime.
Western Michigan started off on offense, but Eastern Michigan's defense would not allow a first down and forced the Broncos to settle for a field goal for the sixth time.
But then the Eagle offense took the field. A touchdown would win it while a field goal would send the game into a second overtime.
On third and 10, Roback hooked up with Russell for a 10-yard grab to move the chains. They would then hand the ball off to Brumfield on three strait plays, ending the game on a 4-yard touchdown run.
Final score: Eagles win 35-32.
The Eagles had two running backs rush for over 100 yards for the first time all season. Brumfield ran the ball 15 times for 148 yards and had 3 touchdowns. Bronson Hill, who did not play last week against Toledo, had 23 rushes for 108 yards and a tocuhdown. They both had one catch for 15 and one yards, respectively.
"They ran, and they ran hard. They ran determined" Parrish said.
The Broncos leading receiver Corey Davis had a slow start, but picked things up very nicely as the game progressed. With only one catch in the first quarter, Davis finished the day with six receptions for 112 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown halfway through the third quarter. Kendrick Roberts also had a big day at the wide receiver position, having four catches for 106 yards.
Throwing the ball 39 times, Zach Terrell had 24 completions for 348 yards and a lone touchdown pass to Davis.
Defensively, Eastern Michigan's Donald Coleman led the way with 14 total tackles (4 solo) with Spearman helping out with 13 of his own (6 solo). Western Michigan's Austin Lewis had 10 tackles (4 solo) and Justin Currie had 9 total tackles (4 solo) including the interception in the first quarter.
Haldeman had a huge day. A perfect 6-for-6 field goal performance with a long of 48.
In order for Eastern Michigan to keep the Michigan MAC trophy in Ypsilanti for a third straight year, Western must beat Central Michigan this Saturday in Kalamazoo and/or the Eagles must beat the Chippewas in Mount Pleasant in their season finale.
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