EMU was led on the ground by Bronson Hill and Darius Jackson, who combined for 187 yards rushing. Hill surpassed the century mark for the 10th time in his career, going 114 yards on 19 carries. Jackson notched a career- high in rushing with 73 yards on 17 carries and also set a career mark in receiving yards, pulling in five catches for 22 yards. Reginald Bell, Jr. led the offense, making a start in the first game of his collegiate career and throwing 11-for-16 with a total of 59 yards.
Morgan State ran much of its offense through the air, as Robert Council went 18-for-28, throwing for 269 yards and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard score. Lamont Brown III paced the offense, rushing for 124 yards on 18 carries. The Bears proved tough up front as four members of the MSU line had at least 10 tackles. Cody Acker led the way with 19, while Delonta Hall added 16, Peterson Janvier had 12, and Paul Eatman, Jr. recorded 11 stops.
The Green and White were able to keep the Bears at bay for the first part of the opening drive, as Matt, Lavonte Robinson, and DaQuan Pace did their part in stopping Morgan State players off the pass.
Council was able to break through the defense with a handful of rushes, culminating in a 23-yard rush along the left sideline before being denied entry into the end zone by Pace on the three-yard line. However, the Eagles were unable to stop the next play as Council found his favorite target of the drive in Brown III for the first touchdown of the contest.
After gaining possession of the pigskin for the first time in the 2014 campaign, the Eagles quickly gained a first down thanks to a sprint up the middle by Bell in his first appearance donning the Green and White. Bell kept his composure to help move the chains another time by finding Tyreese Russell in the open, tossing an easy 14-yard lob to find the senior on the MSU 36-yard line. Another throw along the left side found Jackson inside the red zone.. A handoff to Jackson paved the way for the team's first touchdown inside "The Factory," and Dylan Mulder was able to convert the extra point to knot the score, 7-7, with 3:06 remaining.
Riding the momentum, the Eagle defense stepped up its game in the Bears' next possession. Ibe made two consecutive stops to give MSU a third down before helping O'Connor slam Council back 10 yards, giving the Bears a lengthy fourth-and-14.
After Nathan Adams blocked the punt, he recovered the ball and scrambled into the end zone for another EMU touchdown. The blocked punt touchdown was the first since Travis Lewis accomplished the feat at Kent State Nov. 13, 2004. It was also just the third blocked punt return touchdown by an EMU squad since 1967. Mulder remained perfect on the extra point, giving the Eagles a 14-7 advantage with 54 seconds remaining.
The Bears started off the second quarter with a bang as Council found Eme Akonawe open for a dash down the middle to the EMU 25-yard line before he was taken down by Willie Creear. MSU made a statement and fought back from its previous possession, making its way down the field to the 10-yard line. O'Connor made another sack on Council for a loss of 12 yards off an attempted third-down conversion. Gary White, Jr. then blocked the field goal attempt.
Bell turned to Ryan Brumfield on the Eagles' next drive as the senior running back gained 30 yards. Bell found an open Brumfield for a 16-yard jaunt to elevate the Green and White's lead to 21-7 with 6:49 to play.
The Bears picked up their offensive pace drastically on the next drive, thanks in large part to Brown III. The redshirt-sophomore running back moved the ball down the field 65 yards over four plays, breaking free for a 46-yard rush to a touchdown to put the Bears within seven points as the Eagles (21-14) with 4:57 to play in the first half.
After the Eagles were unable to muster any points in the ensuing possession. MSU went 80 yards in just eight plays and less than 90 seconds. With less than one minute remaining in the half, the score stood at 21-21.The Eagles made their way into MSU territory, but were unable to put any more points on the board.
Brogan Roback entered the game in the third period to give the Eagles a fresh look at the quarterback position, but the veteran Eagle could not work any magic. The Bears jumped at the opportunity to gather some more points of their own, and their effort proved fruitful when Council threw to Thomas Martin for a 75-yard touchdown. With 5:30 to play in the third quarter, the Eagles trailed once more by seven points, down 21-28.
The MSU touchdown seemed to fire the Eagles up, especially Hill, who busted through the MSU defense and carried the ball 35 yards in four plays before the Bears called a timeout in an attempt to slow the determined senior. The defense keyed in on Hill when the teams took to the field again, and Roback found a new target in Dustin Creel, who had two catches for 15 yards to put the Eagles in the red zone. As the Bears turned their attention to Creel after the success of the previous plays, Brumfield went on a 14-yard rush to equalize the score, 28-28, with two minutes to play in the quarter.
Facing formidable winds and a 42-yard distance between his foot and the goal posts, Mulder was brought in for a field goal attempt with 13:41 left in the contest . The junior kicker rose to the occasion and sailed the ball through the uprights to give the Eagles the advantage once more, 31-28.
EMU was moving the ball later when the contest was halted due to bad weather in the area and the contest was delayed for 57 minutes until the teams were allowed back on the field with 9:13 to play.
When the game finally resumed, Eastern had to punt. The Bears appeared refreshed by the game delay as Brown ran 32 yards on the first play before Pace forced him out of bounds. But the EMU defense ended the drive with a stripped ball by O'Connor to give the ball back to the Eagles with just 42 yards to the goal and 5:21 to play.
The Eagles then put together a pair of rushes by Hill to move the ball 25 yards up the field. The Green and White soon found itself within scoring distance and decided to go in for a field goal attempt, but Mulder's kick veered off to the left and returned the ball to the Bears.
MSU made a handful of scrambles toward the goal line before a fumble by Council dropped the Bears back to second-and-17. They were able to advance on fourth-and-nine at the EMU 38-yard line, giving Chris Moller a 55-yard attempt. A false start on the snap pushed the attempt back five yards, and MSU was unable to tie the contest.
The Eagles will take to the road for five weeks, playing their next contest at the University of Florida, Sept. 6, in Gainesville, Fla.