Eastern Michigan did more Wednesday than just snap a nine-game football losing streak against Miami that dated back almost a quarter century.
The Eagles also dashed the RedHawks’ hopes for a second straight 6-6 season and possible bowl berth.
Eastern Michigan quarterback Brogan Roback ran for one touchdown and connected with Sergio Bailey for two third-quarter touchdown passes and the Eagles went on to upset Miami, 27-24, in their Mid-American Conference game at Yager Stadium.
Ian Ericksen gained 107 yards on 12 carries in the first half and finished with 112 yards on 18 carries for Eastern Michigan (4-7, 2-5 MAC West), which beat the RedHawks for the first time since a 15-9 victory in 1993 at Miami.
“They didn’t do much we hadn’t seen,” said Miami outside linebacker Brad Koenig, who led the RedHawks with eight solo tackles and 13 total and came up with a fumble recovery. “It was just being disciplined and having our eyes in the right spot.”
Junior running back Kenny Young gained 85 yards and scored two touchdowns on 13 carries, but Miami (4-7, 3-4 MAC East Division) couldn’t overcome two turnovers by junior quarterback Gus Ragland and 11 penalties for 103 yards on Senior Night.
“We ended up with a lot of offensive penalties, and we haven’t had too many of those this year,” coach Chuck Martin said. “We didn’t have any stupid penalties like roughing the passer or late hits. It’s a rare day when we have a bunch of offensive penalties. That was probably a bigger problem in the third quarter. They hurt drives.
“I feel bad for the seniors,” the fourth-year coach added. “I feel bad for everyone, to be honest with you.”
Ragland was 22-of-32 for 251 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Ryan Smith with 2:04 left in the game, but his fumble led to what proved to be the decisive touchdown and he also threw a fourth-quarter interception. He also was sacked four times after not being sacked at all in Miami’s win over Akron on Nov. 7.
“We went into the game knowing they had a good defensive line,” Ragland said. “I knew I had to get the ball out. If you hang around and pat the ball too many times, that gives them time to get home. There were a couple of times I could’ve been smarter, but I thought our (offensive) line had a pretty good night against one of the better defensive lines in the league.”
The RedHawks went into Wednesday in third place in the MAC East Division, one game behind co-leaders Akron and Ohio and needing two wins to finish 6-6 overall and become eligible for a bowl-game berth. They also had an outside shot at sharing the East title, but they needed to beat the Eagles and win at Ball State next Tuesday and have Akron lose at home to Kent State next Tuesday and Ohio lose at Buffalo on Wednesday.
The Eagles needed just one minute, 59 seconds after halftime to go 74 yards and regain a 20-17 lead on Roback’s 32-yard touchdown pass to Bailey.
Paulie Fricano’s second field goal cut Miami’s lead to 17-13 with 13 seconds in the half.