Entering last Saturday's date at fellow MAC struggler Ball State , Eastern Michigan had lost 18 straight games, the second-longest losing streak in the nation. Second-year head coach Ron English 's record at the EMU helm? You guessed it, 0-18. And with the Eagles down 21-0 in the second quarter on the road, it looked like 0-19 was fast approaching.
That's when Eagle quarterback Alex Gillett went to work. He would finish with 414 total yards (189 rushing, 225 passing), driving EMU into overtime tied at 35, and then he did this:
That's tight end Ben Thayer who appears to nearly pay for his game-winning catch with his life, but I don't think he minds too much.
But even as you watch EMU celebrate, remember that when an 18-game losing streak ends, that means another team has just lost to a team that came in on an 18-game losing streak. No, really, remember that. And that the pain of that fact probably wounds even more deeply when that team rampaged through a 12-0 regular season just two seasons ago and has gone a miserable 4-17 since with losses not only to EMU but FCS teams New Hampshire and Liberty. Just ask a Ball State fan, like Alan of Ball State fan blog Over the Pylon :
After each and every loss since this blog was started back in 2008 we’ve implored people to stay positive. We’ve begged people to not give up. We’ve assured folks that better days were coming. Today, all that positivity, all that fear calming, all that hope and optimism for this program in the near future appears for naught. I’m not sure what rock bottom is, but I fear that the Ball State football program is venturing dangerously close to it ...Alan certainly doesn't find that life vest in BSU head coach Stan Parrish ; after two years in charge of the Cardinals, the one-time Kansas State head coach has compiled an unbelievable 6-46-1 all-time record as a Division I head coach.
The box score and recap for this particular contest is equal parts confusing and humiliating. EMU outplayed the Cardinals in nearly every facet, from time of possession to total yards ... To have a winless team mired in a significant losing streak rack up a 490-243 yard advantage is absolutely ridiculous ...
I never thought I would be saying this again after 2008 and the magical undefeated season we witnessed, but there is nothing positive to take away from this game and nothing that I can point to as a life vest in this abysmal era of failure and disappointment.
It's a portrait of a program suddenly awash in misery as abject as EMU's joy was, er, joyous. Even at the fringes of FBS football, every emotional high --no matter how high -- still has its corresponding low.
HT: Pre-Snap Read , who points out via Twitter that EMU's happiness isn't likely to be long-lived; in the past decade, the Eagles have never won three games in a row and won two in a row only five times.