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DEKALB, Ill. ( – senior quarterback Ben bryant (La Grange, Ill.-Lyon Twp. (Cincinnati) pitched for 338 yards and junior wide Hassan Beydoun (Dearborn, Michigan-Dearborn) generated 167 yards on reception, but the Eastern Michigan University football team fell to Northern Illinois University, 27-20, on the road on Saturday, Oct. 2. . Despite a second-half comeback in which he dominated NIU 17-14, EMU was unable to complete the comeback.

The Huskies have improved to 3-2 this year and to 1-0 in Mid-American Conference games, while the Eagles have fallen to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in conference clashes.

Bryant went 27 for 40 on the 338-yard path, showing two touchdowns with one interception.

To recover Dj smith (Dallas, Texas-Frisco Lone Star) punctuated the Eagles’ rushing offense, racking up 26 yards in the game, averaging 8.7 yards per carry. First year of return Darius Boone Jr. (Tulsa, Oklahoma-Union) also added 19 rushing yards, as well as 45 receiving yards.

Beydoun’s 167-yard performance led the East Michigan receiving corps.

Second year Matthieu buschman (Brighton, Michigan-Brighton) came forward in defense of Eastern Michigan, registering a salvage fumble. Junior linebacker Tariq Speights (Valencia, CA-Velencia (College of the Canyons)) had 12 tackles in the loss, a high for the team.

The Eagles forced a turnaround in Saturday’s game, with Eastern Michigan turning that into three points. Eastern Michigan converted 42.9% of the day’s third down attempts.

Defensively, Eastern Michigan did an impressive job limiting the northern Illinois pass attack, keeping the Huskies 84 yards in the air.

How did it happen

Eastern Michigan responded to a 17-0 lead over northern Illinois with a second quarter field goal to reduce the deficit to 17-3.

After northern Illinois scored to extend their lead to 24-10, eastern Michigan responded with a touchdown with 2:14 left in the third quarter to reduce the deficit to 24-17. Northern Illinois scored to increase their lead to 27-17 before the Eagles re-signed up to reduce the advantage to a 27-20 game. Neither team scored again in the match.

Play Notes

Eastern Michigan had 14 points in the third quarter, representing 70% of their total score.
Eastern Michigan converted 6 of 14 third tries while Northern Illinois had 4 of 13 tries.
The Eagles had three players with more than eight tackles in the game.
“Senior Jake julien (Barrie, Ontario-North Collegiate) kicked three times for the Eagles averaging 46.0 yards per punt.
Bryant completed 67.5 percent of his passes that day, scoring 27 for 40 averaging 8.4 yards per attempt.
Saturday’s game marked just the second time EMU has failed to score in an opening quarterback this season (in Wisconsin, Sept. 11).
Before Saturday’s game, EMU had not allowed more than two sacks in a game. The Eagles gave up three in the first quarter of the game against NIU.
»Junior kicker Chad Ryland (Lebanon, Pennsylvania-Cedar Crest)The 47-yard field goal with four seconds left in the first half is his longest of the year and the sixth of his EMU career. Ryland is now 3-for-6 on the season.
EMU rushed for -15 yards in the first half of Saturday’s game. This is the lowest total for the team in any half of football this season.
Bryant completed 45-yard and 42-yard passes, respectively, in EMU’s first offensive possession in the second period. These assists rank second and fourth respectively in his long career with EMU.
»Superior Tight End Bryson’s Cannon (Columbia, SC-Dutch Fork (Independence))The 42-yard touchdown reception with 10:37 in the third quarter was not only his first score of the season, but his longest of the season and the second longest of his career. Cannon last scored a touchdown on November 18, 2020, against Toledo.
” Second year Aaron Jackson (Detroit, Michigan-Cass Tech)The 13-yard rushing effort in the third quarter is a long career for the second-year tight end. Jackson was used as the team’s Wildcat quarterback in the game. He knows the job well, having played QB in high school and starting his career in EMU as a flagman.
Beydoun’s 14 receptions are a new career high.
With 167 receiving yards, Beydoun racked up his sixth career game of over 100 yards. Beydoun accounted for six of EMU’s 132 all-time 100-yard receiving efforts (5%).
»With his touchdown reception in the third quarter, his second of the season, junior Dylan drummond (Cleveland, Ohio-Cuyahoga Heights) has now recorded scores in consecutive games for the first time in his career.
Bryant’s performance was arguably the best of his time with the Eagles. The freshman quarterback set new career records in passing completed (27) and passing yards (338).
Boone’s 45-yard reception is the longest of his career and the longest for an EMU running back this season.
EMU’s 338 offensive yards in the air are the most important for the team this season. EMU’s previous single-game record was 323, against UMass on September 18.
Smith led all the Eagles with 26 rushing yards on three attempts. He also had the team’s long run (tied) for 13 yards. His 26 yards and unique 13-yard rush are both career best.
Speights had the team’s 12 best tackles in the game. That number equals his career best mark (November 27, 2020 against Central Michigan).
The recovery from Buschman’s fumble was the first of his career.
The delay in the rain on Saturday lasted 2:45.

Historical Notes

EMU and NIU fell dramatically behind schedule between the first and second trimesters. The last time an EMU team suffered a lightning strike delay was against Bowling Green on October 1, 2016. The delay lasted 2:45.
With 14 receptions, Beydoun became the first EMU player to record 10 or more catches since October 21, 2017, when Antoine Porter did so against Western Michigan.
Beydoun’s 167-yard receiving performance is one of the records. Tied for 19th in receiving yards of a game of all time, Beydoun’s effort has been the best for an EMU player since the 2016 season, when the former Eagle Dieuly Aristilde recorded 193 in seven receptions against Miami on Oct. 29.
Bryant’s 338 yards in the air most important for EMU quarterback since teammate Preston Hutchinson (Mason, Ohio-Mason) totaled 365 passing yards against Central Michigan on Nov. 27, 2020.
Beydoun’s 14 receptions are tied for fifth in a single game of all time at EMU. The number has been recorded a total of 15 times in the program’s 130-year history.
EMU forced seven turnovers in 2021 and scored points on each (5 touchdowns, 2 field goals). This trend continued on Saturday (3 points on a fumble recovered).

Eastern returns home to host Miami on Saturday, October 9 at 3:30 pm The game will close the University’s 100th reunion celebration and will air on ESPN + and WEMU 89.1 FM.