Goal-line stand highlights Eastern Michigan's 14-10 win over Western Michigan
Melanie Maxwell I AnnArbor.com
A goal-line stand with five minutes remaining put an exclamation point on a strong defensive performance by the Eagles in their 14-10 homecoming win over Western Michigan in front of an announced crowd of 6,772 at Rynearson Stadium on Saturday.
Two plays on the series were reviewed by the replay official, who twice determined Eastern Michigan (5-3, 3-1 MAC) had, indeed, stopped the Broncos (4-4, 2-2) short of the goal line.
On the first, defensive back Latarrius Thomas stopped Western Michigan’s Chris Prom inches from paydirt on a third-and-goal pass from Alex Carder that started at the 3-yard-line. On fourth down, Broncos running back Tevin Drake was stopped short by a group of Eagles.
“We all believed. When they got down there, all we kept saying was, ‘They haven’t scored yet, they haven’t scored yet.’ That’s all we kept reiterating," said Thomas. "They can get down, but you don’t get points for first downs. So we just kept on playing all the way through.”
Eastern Michigan turned to its successful running game from there, running out the clock with eight straight runs -- the biggest being a 14-yard gain by quarterback Alex Gillett on a third-and-11 play with 1:56 remaining.
Junior running back Dominique Sherrer returned from a five-game absence due to injury to lead the Eagles with 86 rushing yards on 11 carries, but it was sophomore Javonti Greene that had the days’ two biggest plays.
Greene scored on a 50-yard pass from Gillett early in the second quarter -- the only points of the first half -- and broke off a 50-yard, game-winning run midway through the fourth quarter.
Drake's 46-yard run in the opening minutes of the second half tied the game at 7-7 and and John Potter's 37-yard field goal early in the fourth gave the Broncos a 10-7 lead.
Greene (13 carries) finished with 61 yards while Gillett (15 carries) and Dominique White (six carries) added 30 yards apiece. Gillett was an efficient 6-of-9 passing for 144 yards.
Carder completed 24-of-34 passes for 181 yards, including seven for 70 yards to his favorite target, Jordan White. Carder was sacked twice and hurried six more times and the Broncos converted on just 3 of 13 third-down plays.
The win gave Eastern Michigan possession of the Michigan MAC Trophy for beating Western Michigan and Central Michigan in the same season. The Eagles scored in the final minute last week at Central Michigan to win 35-28.