Offensively, the Eagles had an efficient day, totaling 428 yards, including 287 in the air and 141 on the ground.
Junior Todd Porter led the offense with a career-high 287 yards passing with one touchdown. He also added 46 more yards on the ground, including . . .
On the main receiving end of Porter's passes were juniors Sergio Bailey II and Johnnie Niupalau. Both had career-highs with 57 and 58 yards, respectively. Bailey II also picked up his first career touchdown reception while totaling seven catches on the day.
Two drives later, the EMU offense got moving with a couple passes from Porter to get the offense to the Mizzou 37-yard line. However, the Eagles were halted by a UM interception that took the Tigers down to the EMU 7-yard line.
With Mizzou knocking on the door, the defense turned around and forced a turnover of their own on third and goal. On a QB sneak, redshirt Ikie Calderon flew in from the secondary and jarred the ball loose. Redshirt junior Luke Maclean pounced on it to force the turnover.
The Missouri defense stood strong, forcing an EMU punt, which the Tigers turned into six points with a 54-yard touchdown return as the clock expired in the first quarter. After one quarter, UM held a 14-0 lead.
To start the second quarter, the Eagle offense found its rhythm, starting with a huge 32-yard run from Eriksen to get EMU back into Tiger territory. On the next play, Porter found Niupalau for 21 to get down to the UM six yard line. Three plays later, Eriksen pounded it into the end zone to give EMU its first points of the night, cutting the deficit to 14-7.
After trading possessions, Missouri pieced together another 12-play 86-yard drive to extend their lead. A missed extra point put the score at 20-7 with just under 4:30 to go until halftime. The lead extended on the next drive on just a single play, as the Tigers took an 87-yard screen pass to the house, pushing the score to 26-7 after another missed PAT.
The Tigers kept the pedal on the floor on their next drive, scoring their third consecutive TD with less than a minute until the half, giving them a 33-7 lead into the half.
The Eagles received the ball to begin the second half, but did not make much of their initial drive, punting the ball back to Missouri. On the return, redshirt freshman Brody Hoying jarred the ball loose on the tackle and senior Chris O'Risky jumped on it near midfield, giving EMU a second chance to begin the half.
EMU made the most of the opportunity with a seven-play scoring drive, cutting into the Mizzou lead. EMU got to the UM 10-yard line with a nice 30-yard connection to redshirt junior Dan Buschman. One play later, Porter found Bailey II in the corner of the end zone, where he made a diving fingertip catch for his first career EMU touchdown.
With the Missouri offense back on the field for the first time in the half, the Tigers picked up where they left off with a quick scoring strike in six plays, capped off by a 52-yard touchdown pass to put the UM lead back at 40-14. The lead extended to 47-14 on Mizzou's next drive, scoring another TD on a 13-yard pass with six minutes left in the third quarter.
Eastern responded on the ensuing drive, putting together a nine-play, 79 yard drive. Led by long passes to senior Sam Browning and freshman Mathew Sexton, Porter finished the drive off himself with his first career rushing touchdown, a four-yard scamper, cutting the UM lead to 47-21.
In Missouri's first drive of the fourth quarter, the Tigers added to their big lead with an 86-yard drive, giving them a 54-21 advantage. After trading multiple possessions, Eastern found itself with the ball on its own goal line. Facing immense pressure up the middle, Porter tried to dump off the ball, but it was intercepted in the end zone for a Mizzou touchdown, completing the decisive 61-21 win.
Eastern remains on the road next week, traveling to Charlotte, N.C. to battle the 49ers of Charlotte. Kickoff from Jerry Richardson Stadium is set for 6 p.m., Saturday Sept. 17.