Ypsilanti, MI—September 4--Eastern Michigan parlayed its power running game and good field positon into a 41-9 win over Howard University in a non-conference game at Rynearson Stadium. The game had been scheduled for Saturday but the weather conditions forced the change to Sunday.
The game marked the debut of Howard head coach Gary
“Flea” Harrell, who was a standout
performer at wide receiver and kick returner from 1990-93.
The Bison struck first when sophomore safety Julian David
stepped in front of an EMU receiver,
wrestled the pass from him, and raced 29 yards for his first career touchdown less than five minutes into
the game. Howard failed to convert on the PAT, but led, 6-0.
The Eagles (1-0) responded with a short drive but the Howard
defense stiffened and forced the
hosts into a Kody Fulkerson 45-yard field goal, making it 6-3 at the 7:43 mark of the first quarter.
The Bison (0-1) countered with a drive of its own, going 44
yards in nine plays before settling for
a 39-yard field by sophomore placekicker Parker Munoz.
From there, the momentum changed and EMU began to take control.
At one point, the Eagles’
defense forced the Bison in five straight plays of minus yards. Taking advantage of field position, EMU tackled on a 31-yard field goal two plays into the second quarter to narrow the margin to 9-6.
The Bison were forced to punt on their next possession and the
Eagles made quick work of the
opportunity by going 30 yards on three plays, with quarterback Alex Gillett capping off the drive with a 25-yard strike to Garrett Hoskins.
The Eagles threatened to increase their lead on their next
possession, embarking on a long drive
that consumed almost seven minutes off the clock. But the resilient Howard held on downs and took over.
It was short lived, however as the Eagles defense forced a
three-and-out. Using the running of
Javonti Greene, Dominique Sherrer and Gillett, EMU drove 78 yards in six plays. It was capped off by a one-yard plunge by Greene, making the score, 20-9 with just 1:31 left in the half.
Despite the deficit, the Bison appeared to be in good shape, but
that all changed quickly when
they fumbled the ensuing kickoff and gave the Eagles a short field. EMU took advantage when Gillett weaved his way 14 yards to the end zone and give his team a 27-9 halftime advantage.
“After they got that one turnover, we were never able to
get field position in our favor,”
explained Harrell. “It changed the momentum.”
The Eagles, who rushed for 326 yards, got a 77-yard TD run from
Sherrer and a nine-yard pass
from Gillett to Joe Fleming to close out the scoring.
Sherrer and Greene each rushed for 120 yards and Gillett added 76 yards on 13 carries while completing 12 of 21 for 115 yards and two TDs.
“Overall, I was pleased with our efforts,” said
Harrell. “We have to get in better condition and
we have to execute better.”
Junior running back Terrance Leffall led the Bison with 53 yards
rushing, Willie Carter led all
receivers with 5 catches for 67 yards and freshman quarterback Greg McGhee showed signs that he is going to an outstanding quarterback. The 6-3, 200-pound freshman was 15 of 27 for 105 yards and displayed remarkable poise
“He made some freshman mistakes, but they did not do a
good job of protecting him,” said
Coach Harrell. “He will learn from this experience.”
Added quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Ted White,
“Overall, he did pretty good
but he has a lot to work on. He did ok on managing first downs, but on third down situation, he has to
have a better understanding and execute better.” Defensively Keith Pough, the Bison’s All-American candidate, collected 14 tackles, including four for losses and a sack. David added nine tackles and the interception for a TD and sophomore Cameron Alston collected 10 tackles.
“We have to execute better on both sides of the ball and
in all aspects of the game,” said Pough.
“The biggest improvement is from Game 1 to Game 2. We just have to keep our heads up and get ready for Morehouse.”