Coming off of two straight agonizing losses before last Saturday's game against Ball State, Eastern Michigan coach Jeff Genyk was worried his team starting slowly against the Cardinals.
Midway through the game, his team led 22-0.
"I was very proud of how our players came out after heartbreaking losses to Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan," Genyk said. "Those players could have come out and not played hard. We came out very hard."
But, like those previous losses, the Eagles' finish mattered more than their start. Leading 25-7 with less than eight minutes to play, EMU gained just 12 yards on three offensive possessions, and watched BSU score touchdowns on its final three chances for a stunning 26-25 win.
Genyk said Saturday's result will definitely change how the Eagles handle future big leads.
"In order to turn the program around here, you have to stay on the attack and maybe make some unconventional decisions," he said. "Like instead of trying to run the (clock) out with 3:09 left, you go try to score a touchdown and finish them off. Those are the things that I think we are going to have to do in the future."
The Eagles try to end their four-game losing streak Saturday when they close the regular season at Buffalo (1:15 p.m. on 89.1, WEMU)
Click on the audio icon above to hear Coach Genyk's comments.
Jones Finishing: Genyk also explained his decision to play redshirt freshman Tyler Jones at quarterback, instead of senior Matt Bohnet, down the stretch of Saturday's game.
"In the first half and third quarter, we had very good drives with (Tyler)," he said. "At the end, we made a decision to attempt to get a first down via the run, and that's why we went with Tyler. In retrospect, maybe we should have gone with Matt and thrown it all over the yard."
Bohnet racked up 302 yards passing through three quarters, but the run-oriented Jones took over for four straight series as BSU stormed back. Jones gained 28 yards on 11 carries, and also completed 3-of-4 passes for 16 yards.
Flag Fest: EMU entered Saturday's game as the least-penalized team in the MAC. Yet the Eagles committed a season-high 12 penalties for 129 yards against the Cardinals. Five of the infractions were whistled during the fourth quarter. The Eagles forced an incompletion on fourth-and-10 in the final minute, but committed pass interference on the play to give BSU new life. Genyk diplomatically indicated that he did not agree with every call.
"It was amazing to us," Genyk said. "We were very surprised by that and that's probably all I'm allowed to say.