Redshirt freshman wide receiver Andrew Flory came up big in the football team’s 34-31 win over Eastern Michigan Saturday at Rynearson Stadium after Central Michigan’s abysmal start.
The team’s leading receiver Titus Davis left the game early in the first quarter with an injury, giving Flory an opportunity. He was ready, recording nine catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
“I had to take over for him; I was prepping all week … I knew my time would come soon,” Flory said. “I was ready for it.”
The win brought the CMU record to 4-6, the first four-win season under head coach Dan Enos, though he said it didn’t mean more to him. Enos said he is just happy for the win and a chance to go .500.
It took a second-half rally by the Chippewas after EMU ran out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
“We know that was just some fluke stuff in the beginning of the game,” Flory said. “We stayed strong and finished out with a victory.”
The major momentum swing came when freshman defensive back Kavon Frazier caught the first interception of his career and ran it 49 yards through the EMU offense to the end zone. It gave the Chippewas their first lead of the game, 24-21.
“(Frazier) is a true freshman; we play a lot of young guys on defense,” Enos said. ”He made a great play and a great run. He was a linebacker/running back in high school. He got some good blocks on the return.”
Flory widened the lead for CMU, scoring on a 14-yard post-route from senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff. Radcliff ended with 284 passing yards, completing 20-of-34 attempts and throwing two touchdowns.
Junior running back Zurlon Tipton got the CMU second half scoring going with an 11-yard touchdown run down the sideline on the first possession for the Chippewas. He had 21 carries for 110 yards.
EMU cut the lead in the end with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jay Jones with 1:37 remaining, but CMU sophomore wide receiver Courtney Williams recovered the ensuing onside kick to secure the victory.
Senior quarterback Alex Gillett, who did not start for EMU, threw for 77 yards and a touchdown, while running for 162 yards and two touchdowns.
CMU fell behind on the first play from scrimmage when Davis caught a short pass and fumbled on the EMU 19-yard line, where the Eagles recovered. Two plays later, quarterback Tyler Benz threw a 19-yard pass to Tyreese Russell to make it 7-0 Eagles one minute into the game.
Davis appeared to have suffered the injury on that play and had his foot/ankle looked at.
The second EMU touchdown came on a fake field goal. The holder, Gillett, ran right through the middle of the defense untouched for a 21-yard touchdown run. That put CMU down 14-0 in the first quarter.
“(Flory) is very talented and stepped up for us today,” Enos said.
Flory scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 10-yard pass from Radcliff to cut the deficit to 14-7. He caught another pass in the end zone late in the second quarter, but a penalty voided the score.
A screen pass to Tipton, who shook off EMU tacklers down the sideline, went for a 37-yard pick up, which set up a 23-yard field goal by David Harman to cut the EMU lead to 14-10.
CMU kept its chances of bowl eligibility alive with the win, needing to win the final two games to have a chance.
“That’s what we talk about everyday in practice,” Flory said. “Coach Enos talks to us and says we are still working for that bowl. Win the rest of our games and we’ll make it to a bowl.”
It will be the senior’s final game at Kelly/Shorts Stadium at 1 p.m. on Saturday when the team hosts a 4-6 Miami (Ohio).