Ypsilanti, MI –
From Jeff Genyk's perspective, Eastern Michigan could easily have a 3-0 Mid-American Conference record heading into Saturday's game at Northern Illinois with .
The Eagles fell 30-3 at Toledo Saturday night, leaving their league mark at 2-1. But they certainly had opportunities to score more than the single field goal. Trailing 13-3 in the second quarter Saturday, EMU drove into Toledo territory on their final first-half drive, and again on their first two drives of the second half. The Eagles chewed up 163 yards of offense on the three drives, but came up empty each time.
"That could have just as easily been 21 points," Genyk said Monday. "And that changes the game."
EMU missed a field goal just before halftime, and stalled twice in the third quarter outside Toledo's 40 before punting.
"We had some penalties and some balls that receivers had a chance to catch," Genyk said of the unproductive drives. "It was really the inability to make plays once we got in between the 30- and 40-yard line. Those little things make the difference."
Though the final margin against UT was lopsided, Genyk said he saw a difference in his team as the game stayed close into the third quarter.
"We played hard enough," he said. "I think that was really the first time that our players were playing an upper-tier team in the MAC, and they felt like 'Hey, we belong with these guys.'"
EMU still has two immediate chances at a breakthrough victory: Saturday at NIU (3:45 p.m. on 89.1, WEMU)and October 22 against Miami at Rynearson Stadium. Both offer EMU the chance to improve on the execution that was lacking against the Rockets.
"You don't have to play perfect to beat Toledo or Northern Illinois," he said. "But you have to make a majority of those plays."
Click on the audio icon above to hear Coach Genyk's comments.
Good news on Bohnet: Genyk was optimistic about quarterback Matt Bohnet's status for Saturday's game. Bohnet missed most of the second quarter against Toledo after suffering a bruised ankle.
"We think that he'll be able to practice, and we think that he'll be able to play," he said. "It was a good shot to that area in his ankle, but he's OK."
Deslauriers frustrated: Wide receiver Eric Deslauriers showed visible frustration with his own play Saturday night. The all-MAC wideout caught seven passes for 59 yards, but had two big plays taken away when UT defenders knocked the ball out of his hands.
"We had four or five attempts for significant gains (to Deslauriers), and the defensive back from Toledo made the play," Genyk said. "When you get a chance one-on-one, you feel like you should come up with the ball."