Eastern Michigan falls to 0-6, but Ron English says Eagles are still fighting
By Justin Souva For AnnArbor.com
Ron English saw emotion from his Eastern Michigan football team Saturday following its 28-6 loss to Kent State at Rynearson Stadium. And that’s what the first-year coach will build on despite falling to 0-6 halfway through the season.
“For the first time, those guys really showed they cared today,” English said at his postgame news conference. “That was a hard locker room to go into.
“This team has not quit on us. They are trying to do what we’re asking them to do, and I respect that. They could easily quit, and they could’ve easily not shown up today.”
Things have been grim this season. One example: Eastern (0-3 in the Mid-American Conference) hasn’t held a lead at any point in a game.
“We’re taking our lumps now, but we will have our day,” English said. “And when we turn it, it will be turned. Therefore, I’m not going to make any excuses, and I’m not going to blame anybody.
“We’re going to be professionals, and we’re going to work to get better every single week - that’s going to happen. I respect the kids and what they’re doing. I feel for those kids. (There were) a lot of tears in that locker room.”
Eastern got off to a bad start again, though. Johnny Sears had a promising return on the opening kickoff only to fumble when he was tackled his team’s 38-yard line.
Kent State recovered and scored on its ensuing drive to take a 7-0 lead 3:24 into the game. On its next possession, it scored in one play on a 48-yard pass from Spencer Keith to Tyshon Goode to make it 14-3.
On what English said was a statement call with his team trailing 14-6 early in the second quarter, Eastern was stopped on a fourth-and-goal from Kent State’s 2-yard line.
“That was one of the key plays we left on the field,” said DeAnthony White, who had 73 rushing yards. “That was very unfortunate and killed momentum.”
Kent State scored its final touchdown on a reverse pass by receiver Leneric Muldrow to Kendrick Pressley with 8:40 remaining. Eastern defensive back Chris May, who had an interception, said that play took some air out of the defense.
“They kind of set us up on it,” May said. “We were thinking they were going to keep pounding the ball. We needed a stop and that kind of put it out of range.”
Joe Carithers made two field goals (30, 25 yards) for Eastern.