The Eastern Michigan Eagles pulled off an impressive win at home, coming from down four late in the 4th quarter to defeat a Wyoming team that beat perennial MAC West power Northern Illinois in their season opener.
The Eagles started off slow, with starting quarterback Todd Porter throwing three interceptions in the first 17 minutes. Those three interceptions turned into 17 points for the Cowboys, with the first ending up as a pick-six. But the Eagles would respond with two scores just before the half to tie the game at 17 heading into the break.
After a field goal to open the 2nd half, both offenses stalled. Eventually, the Eagles would force a fumble and get the ball in decent field position in the 4th quarter. But Porter, who had a solid 3rd quarter, threw another interception. The mistake would prove costly, as the Cowboy defender took it home for the 2nd pick-six of the night.
That would force Coach Creighton to switch quarterbacks to the embattled Brogan Roback. After a rough first drive, he would get the ball back with 2:37 to go. Through scrambles and handoffs, he pioneered a drive that lead to Ian Eriksen’s game-winning 15-yard touchdown. A Vince Calhoun interception on the next drive would all but secure the win.
The game was shadowed by protesters from the EMU student body. Throughout the game, a group of students continued chants before taking the South Endzone just after halftime. They would slowly make their way towards the field throughout the 2nd half, before storming the field, forcing both teams to their locker rooms after the final buzzer. You can read more on the events leading up to the protest here.
Ian Eriksen finished with 120 yards on 27 carries, and his lone score was the game-winner. Porter added 61 yards on 11 carries, with Breck Turner adding 52 yards, the bulk of which came on a career-long 50 yard touchdown run (the first of his career). Porter was 14-for-28 for 214 yards and a score, but he threw more touchdowns to his opponent with the pair of pick-sixes and his four interceptions cost him the lead spot down the stretch. Roback went 3-for-6 for 47 yards in his spot time.
The EMU defense was superb, holding the Cowboys to 313 yards of offense, including just 79 yards rushing on 38 carries. They forced four fumbles, recovering two, and blocked a kick in a critical spot late in the 3rd quarter after a stellar goal-line stop. The interception of Allen was the lone turnover they were able to force from the sophomore quarterback, as he was otherwise solid, going 19-for-29 for 234 yards. The defense only allowed 10 points, with those scores coming off of the two Porter interceptions that didn’t end up in the end zone.
The Eagles now begin MAC play with a trip to defending MAC Champions Bowling Green. The Falcons are a shell of their former selves, sporting a 1-2 record heading into a tough match-up against Memphis. The Eagles are 3-1 to open the season for the first time since 1995.