In a game that many people didn’t think they would pull off, Eastern Michigan (2-1) managed to defeat the Arizona Sun Devils (1-2) in Tempe, Arizona, with the Eagles taking down the hosts by a final score of 30-21.
Eastern Michigan would open the scoring on a 27-yard field goal by virtue of Jesus Gomez’s first career field goal try, and then extend the lead to 10-0 after a Jaylon Jackson four-yard rush into the end zone, placing a lot of pressure on ASU early.
The Sun Devils would get on the board after a pass from Florida transfer Emory Jones to Andre Johnson would make it 10-7. Eastern Michigan responded back in kind, putting the lead back to 17-7 after a Hassan Beydoun catch from backup quarterback Austin Smith. The teams then exchanged rushing scores to close out the half, with Emory Jones scrambling in for a score to bring the game within a field goal and Samson Evans scoring his first rushing touchdown of the day to put the halftime tally at 24-14 in favor of the Green and White.
The Eagles would pad their lead to 27-14 after another Jesus Gomez field goal. After the teams settled down in the third quarter, the Sun Devils would make it interesting in the fourth, with running back Xazavian Vallady nabbing a nice rushing touchdown to bring the score to 27-21. EMU ran down the clock as much as they could, using Samson Evans to grind out as many yards as possible to set up another Jesus Gomez field goal try to once again make it a two score game on a 19-yard attempt, placing the score at 30-21.
There was still enough time on the clock for Arizona State to bring it within one score, but the Eastern Michigan defense stood tall with the help of a facemask and holding penalty, setting up ASU in an unfavorable position. A fumble recovery by Kempton Shine would seal the deal for the Eagles, as they would go on to win by the final score of 30-21.
This was the fourth win against a Power Five opponent by the Eagles, extending a streak on non-conference wins on the road dating back to 2015 to seven consecutive years. Even though it appeared that Arizona State was about ready to steal the victory, the Eagles stood tall and didn’t panic and took care of business.
The Eagles return home to Rynearson Stadium on Saturday where they will face the Buffalo Bulls.