Football falls to Eastern Michigan in final game of season

By Zane Miller and By Zane Miller

The Falcons football team fell in their final game of the season Tuesday night against the Eastern Michigan Eagles 34-31. The team finished with a 2-10 overall record, 2-6 in the Mid-American Conference. 

“I thought we played hard,” Falcons head coach Mike Jinks said. “We killed ourselves in the first half because, really, I thought we came out with a little bit more energy than they did and could have put them away or had a lead coming into half. So, we’ve got to learn from it, we’ve got to fix those things and continue to improve.” 

The game began with senior running back Josh Cleveland rushing for a 72 yard touchdown as the Falcons grabbed a 7-0 lead. However, Eastern Michigan jumped ahead with a touchdown pass and a pair of field goals. The Falcons were able to cut the lead in half with a field goal from junior kicker Jake Suder as Eastern Michigan held onto a 13-10 lead. 

In the second quarter, the Falcons regained the lead as freshman quarterback Jarret Doege ran for a short touchdown. Eastern Michigan would get the advantage back before the end of the half with a short touchdown run of their own with only 58 seconds remaining in the half. 

Midway through the third period, Eastern Michigan added to their lead with another touchdown run to make it 27-17, but the Falcons came back on their next possession with a touchdown pass from Doege to senior wide receiver Teo Redding. The team retook the lead with a 62 yard pass from Doege to junior wide receiver Datrin Guyton. However, Eastern Michigan scored a rushing touchdown just before the end of the quarter.  

Both offenses struggled in the fourth quarter, with neither side able to score, so Eastern Michigan held on to win 34-31. 

The team had a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter, going for it on a fourth and one instead of trying for a long field goal, but the team was stopped as Eastern Michigan ran down the clock on the ensuing possession. 

“We had a great chance to win the ball game,” Jinks said. “We had the ball late and had a chance to make a play, we really didn’t know how many possessions we’d have left, I felt like, if we can’t get this yard, then it’s not our night.” 

Doege threw for two touchdowns and 256 yards, along with a rushing touchdown, to give the team the lead early in the game. 

“(Doege was) banged and bruised and averaged 30-something points a game,” Jinks said. “A lot of that had to do with his ability to make plays, so he was efficient tonight.”