CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The party is on for Eastern Michigan after beating a Big Ten team for the third straight season as the Eagles leave their mark at Memorial Stadium handing the Illini their first loss of the year.
“It’s embarrassing to lose like this but we’ve just got to keep pushing,” Brandon Peters said. “There’s still a lot of football to play.”
This is the second time a MAC team has beat Illinois under Lovie Smith but it’s not just that they won, it’s the way they did it. EMU racked up 480 yards of total offense, including 316 thru the air. And after a competitive first quarter where a combined 31 points were scored, the Eagles defense gave the Illini offense all sorts of trouble holding them to no points, six punts and two turnovers in the second and third quarters.
“You know good, bad, that’s what happened today. You have to maintain a sense of consistency throughout and we weren’t able to do that,” Lovie Smith said. “With our running game, passing the ball, we had opportunities and we didn’t capitalize on them.”
“We could be playing Mary School for the Blind. If we do what we need to do, we should win every game,” Josh Imatorbhebhe said. “I really don’t care who we’re playing against. It can be embarrassing or whatever but at the end of the day, what’s more embarrassing is that we didn’t play our best football.”
Lovie Smith said penalties were one of the most frustrating parts of the loss for him. Illinois committed nine of them for 80 yards compared to just two penalties for Eastern Michigan. The Illini players said afterwards they felt like they beat themselves