Making his first start since Sept. 13, 2014, redshirt-sophomore Brogan Roback led the Eagle offense with a career high 330 yards on 17 of 24 passing and three scores. Roback was extremely sharp as he earned the start in place of Reginald Bell, who was sidelined following an injury last weekend.
(CLICK READ MORE TO CONTINUE . . . )
Through the air, it was another freshman, Eddie Daugherty, leading the Eagles with three catches for 105 yards and a score. It was also the first 100-yard receiving game of his young EMU career.
Defensively, redshirt Clay Dawson starred for the Green and White finishing with four tackles including one for loss, and a forced fumble, which he recovered. Great Ibe led the team in tackles with 10.
As a team, EMU put up big offensive numbers with a balanced attack, 176 on the ground and 330 through the air for a total of 506 yards. The Eagles were also efficient, as they converted 7-of-12 third downs and were 4-for-4 in the red zone.
Defensively the Green and White played lock-down pass defense, only allowing 32 yards through the air. EMU also won the turnover battle, as they forced one and did not suffer one themselves.
The Cowboys got the scoring started on their first drive of the game with a five-yard touchdown run from Justice Murphy. However, the Eagles responded on the ensuing drive. The big play of the drive was a 57-yard pass from Roback to senior Dustin Creel put EMU in Wyoming territory. The pass was the longest of both of their respective careers. On the next play, Vann took the direct snap and scampered 15 yards into the end zone for the first touchdown of his career.
Later in the quarter, Wyoming had a steady drive going when, following a long run on a scramble from UW quarterback Josh Allen, he was knocked out of the game after sustaining a big hit on the play. Wyoming was forced to turn to third-string signal caller, redshirt-freshman Nick Smith, for his first collegiate action. EMU promptly forced a three and out, and the Cowboys missed the resulting field goal.
Taking over after the missed field goal, EMU put together another steady drive guided by the arm of Roback. The righty went five of seven finishing with a three-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Sam Browning to take the lead. It was the first catch and touchdown in his EMU career.
On the following kickoff, redshirt junior kicker Brenden Renius attempted the onside kick, which he recovered himself after the ball traveled ten yards. It was the first recovered onside kick for EMU since 2007.
Set up with good field position, the Eagles once again strung together a solid drive to start the second quarter and extend their lead. The Green and White went 53 yards in eight plays, capped off with a 17-yard touchdown toss from Roback to Darius Jackson.
The EMU offense continued its offensive assault the next time it touched the ball. Following another UW missed field goal, Vann once got loose on a long run, this time going for a 74-yard touchdown score, putting EMU up 28-7. The run put him over 100 yards on the day. The offensive onslaught continued on the next drive, this time a nine play 65-yard scoring drive capped off by a two-yard Jackson run.
The Eagle defense continued the pressure on the next UW drive, on the first play Dawson stripped the Wyoming ball carrier and recovered the fumble to give EMU great field position close to the end of the first half.
Despite the field position, the Pokes defense held steady and forced the 39-yard EMU field goal which was converted by Dylan Mulder to give the Eagles the 38-7 lead. The last time the Eagles scored on five consecutive drives was against Toledo, Oct.13, 2012, when EMU scored on six straight drives.
UW responded with its last drive of the first half, scoring with less than a minute on the clock to send the game to halftime with a 38-14 score.
Wyoming jump-started the second half with a quick scoring drive on a long touchdown run and a converted two-point conversion to make the score 38-22 early in the third quarter. EMU responded, however, with a quick scoring drive of its own with another long touchdown, this time a 64-yard pass from Roback to Daugherty to extend the EMU lead to 45-22.
Wyoming continued grinding it out on the ground against EMU late in the third quarter, and scored on a rushing touchdown from Brian Hill with just under a minute to play in the period to cut the lead to 45-29.
The offenses cooled down in the fourth quarter. Wyoming's best opportunity for points was midway through the period, before it turned the ball over on downs in the EMU red zone. Eastern took over following the turnover and used a long drive to set up a 41-yard Mulder field goal with just under three minutes left in the contest, closing out the EMU victory, 48-29.
Eastern returns Rynearson Stadium next week, Sept. 19, with the first action in Mid-American Conference play against the Cardinals of Ball State University.