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Posted on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

Miscues doom Eastern Michigan against No. 24 Northern Illinois; English expects to be back as coach in 2013

By Matt Durr


Northern Illinois running back Akeem Daniels (3) breaks away from Eastern Michigan's Dustin Creel for a touchdown during the first quarter of NIU's 49-7 win.

Associated Press

With just 16 seconds left to play in the first quarter, the Eastern Michigan football team was tied with the No. 24 ranked Northern Illinois Huskies, having just scored on a lengthy touchdown drive.

On the ensuing kickoff NIU’s Tommylee Lewis returned the kick 93 yards and scored to give the Huskies the lead again.

It’s was that kind of season for EMU, as the Eagles lost their season finale 49-7 Friday afternoon at Rynearson Stadium.

“When you are struggling as a football team, those are the things that happen. We had just answered with a nice drive, we had done a good job, we had done some things defensively and then boom that happens,” said head coach Ron English. “I think it’s part of when you’re struggling as a football team.”


Later in the first half, after EMU forced the Huskies to punt, the Eagles were called for too many men on the field, giving NIU a first down. Four plays later, on fourth-and-two, Martel Moore hauled in a short pass from Jordan Lynch before turning it up the sidelines for a 43-yard touchdown, making the score 28-7 at the half.

“We couldn’t stop them on third and fourth down enough to stay in the game,” English said.

After going toe-to-toe with NIU for the majority of the first quarter, things fell apart for the Eagles following an 11-play, 82-yard drive that was capped by a Tyler Benz 20-yard touchdown pass to Matt Boyd, tying the game at 7-7.

Other than that scoring drive, the Eagles gained only 43 yards of offense in the first half and just 227 yards on the day.

“In my time in the conference, that is the best Northern defense they’ve had,” English said. “I thought we were running it decently early. Everything changes when you don’t score points. To me we don’t score enough points around here. It’s just a mess.

“That to me is the biggest disappointment of the year quite honestly, because we have the ability to score points and we did not score enough points and it’s disappointing.”

The weather certainly didn’t help either squad as midway through the first half, snow covered the field at Rynearson Stadium making it difficult for players keep their footing.

Once the weather turned, NIU went to its powerful running game manufacturing a 13-play drive that ended with 12 consecutive runs. The Huskies moved the ball 80 yards, ending with an Akeem Daniels 20 yard touchdown run. Daniels finished with 112 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 12 carries.

The Huskies (11-1, 8-0 Mid-American Conference) racked up 415 yards of offense on the day, 242 of which came in the running game.

Prior to the game, the team's 20 seniors were honored during a ceremony congratulating them on their careers at Eastern. English said this group has special meaning to him.

“You have guys like Alex Gillett who is a guy who was demoted and still led and still did the right things consistently and still helped the team to victory,” English said.

English also complimented the play and leadership of Andy Mulumba and Justin Cudworth as examples of why this class was special to him.

“When you talk about the men themselves, they don’t deserve to be embarrassed like this,” English said. “What I love about them is that they care about Eastern, they stuck with it and they never quit.”

Eastern finished the season 2-10 on the year and 1-7 in MAC play, a year after going 6-6 and 4-4. English indicated that he would be the head coach next season despite compiling a 10-38 record through four seasons at EMU. English has one year remaining on his original contract.

“I feel that I will have the opportunity to come back next year,” English said. “I’ve been associated with turning programs around where you get to be .500 the third year, you come back and you struggle and then you come back.

“When you’re building programs there are gaps. When you look at our team this year, over half the guys that played are playing for the first time. I’ll be here next year, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. And as you know we’ve got to win and I don’t have a problem with that.”

While English has been told that he will be back, he hinted that other changes might be in order.

“I think there are some really concrete decisions that I have to make about the team,” he said.

*Matt Durr covers sports for*



Sun, Nov 25, 2012 : 1:29 a.m.

Folks - EMU is not firing English - he has a year left on his contract and they cant eat the $$$ @ Terry Star21 He may be a fine man, but so what! As far as a good coach, his record says otherwise. He was not qualified when they hired him (no head coaching experience) and it shows week after week one more lame duck season and then EMU (finally) hires a coach with experience building a program


Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

Fire him ... the President, too.

Marcus Adams

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 7:38 a.m.

Terry Star21 makes an excellent point. EMU is an excellent university and I'm sure that Ron English is a good coach but winning begets winning and historically, when it comes to players (and coaches) EMU gets the leftovers. Remember that attendance-fixing scandal story the Eastern Echo broke a few years ago? Staying in the MAC is more trouble than it's worth. There's no shame in dropping down and joining the GLIAC. Ashland and Grand Valley could pose problems, but we could take Tiffin and Notre Dame while saving on travel costs!


Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 5:56 a.m.

Up until this year all of the same comments being made here were being made about Kent State, they hadn't been to a bowl game in 40 years (25 years for EMU), worst winning percentage in the MAC in recent history, poor attendance, couldn't recruit, couldn't find a head coach etc.. etc.. etc... They are 11-1 ranked 23rd in the nation and have built a strong foundation for the future. English took over a program with terrible facilities, no expectations and a University with little or no interest. He has changed the culture but not the results, his offensive and defensive cooridnators must be fired and in his final year anything less than a .500 record will be his last anyway. EMU is capable of being competitive in the MAC, Last year they were 6-6 (4-4 in the MAC). Good Luck Mr. English and EMU football.


Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 5:32 a.m.

Grey is not one of EMU's colors. What were people thinking when they voted for this?


Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 2:39 a.m.

I like English and think he deserves a real shot at building the EMU program. On the other hand, Eastern really needs to consider leaving the MAC for a lower division. They're not competitive and don't have the attendance to be competitive in the MAC.

greg, too

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 3:48 a.m.

He has had 4 years and a full recruiting class. If he's not fired before the start if recruiting, the EMU just doesn't care about winning.

Terry Star21

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

It isn't Ron English, he is a fine man and coach. Eastern Michigan is a fine University, great academically with some fine sports teams. The football team on the other hand; 13 - 46 last five years. 41 - 128 last fifteen years. 85 - 161 last twenty five years. 115 - 245 last thirty five years. That's a average record of; 3.28 - 7.72 each year. And for nearly 40 years, that makes it extremely hard to get noticed and very difficult to recruit players. Not an easy or quick fix.


Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

A few facts about EMU Athletics: Smallest athletic department budget in the MAC. Twenty one sports - one of the highest in the MAC. In the last three (?) decades EMU has hired three coaches who have been previous head coaches who have been very successful at EMU: Harkema (football), Merchant (w basketball) and Braun (m/basketball). None of the assistants hired have been successful. The athletic facilities are great - Rynearson is a great place to watch football. They need to fire English and hire a successful head coach from a lower level. No more Michigan Men at Eastern. And yes there are Eastern people out there who are currently head coaches who would fit the bill!!!

Chase Ingersoll

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.


Fri, Nov 23, 2012 : 11:53 p.m.

Bring Charlie Batch in to coach this team.


Sat, Nov 24, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

What is his coaching experience?


Fri, Nov 23, 2012 : 11:14 p.m.

So a few miscues caused a 42 point deficit? How about calling it what it is, an inefective coaching staff with indifferent players? I attended the joke of a game.the only time EMU looked inspired today was when the final horn sounded and the players sprinted off the filed to the locker room to get out of the cold. That was the fasted any of them moved all day. Sad to say, the Eagles are a disgrace and the laughing stock of D1 football. Five winning season in the last 35 years? Enough said. End the program now.


Fri, Nov 23, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

Why doesn't Eastern do like Michigan and go out and hire an EMU man? Isn't that supposed to be the solution?


Fri, Nov 23, 2012 : 10:44 p.m.

He may think that he will return.....but one step forward and five back does not cut it.....