On Friday, a pair of middling, weaker FBS programs got together in Ypsilanti. The Eastern Michigan Eagles came away with a 27-24 victory over the Cowboys of Wyoming, after trailing 17-3 early on in the game. But unfortunately, the game action on the field is coming second in the headlines.
During and after the game, a wave of protesters calmly stormed the field in unity in response to an incident that occurred on the campus of Eastern Michigan earlier in the week. The incident happened on Tuesday, when racist graffiti spraypainted on a campus building was discovered and reported to EMU brass and authorities.
— John Schriffen (@JohnSchriffen) September 24, 2016
EMU President James Smith did a live interview during the Wyoming-EMU football game Friday night to discuss the matter, on how the protesting was going to be accepted but only until after the game was officially over.
The graffiti that was discovered on the EMU campus spelled out ‘KKK’ in the colors of the American flag, along with a very strong racial derogatory term. More graffiti was found less than 24 hours later in a stairwell of a different building on campus. There is also an ongoing investigation involving an SUV and a crowd of protesters from the graffiti, that also happened on Tuesday. It was also reported the same day that more than 100 students marched to the home of President Smith.
Smith issued a campus-wide statement regarding the matter after the incident was discovered.
— Eastern Michigan (@EasternMichU) September 20, 2016
The group of peaceful protesters, consisting of predominantly African-Americans, were all chanting “No justice! No peace!” as they entered the field once the game clock hit triple zeroes. Apparently, a Wyoming football player was seen briefly joining in the fray before departing the scene. These events surrounding EMU come subsequently after more civil unrest news, this time in Charlotte, made national headlines earlier in the week.
Thankfully, no one was harmed throughout the evening and nothing ever really escalated quickly that resulted in any serious damage. As for the game itself, Eagles sophomore running back Ian Eriksen finished with 120 yards on 27 carries, scoring the game-winning touchdown with under two minutes to go in the game. And junior Brogan Roback returned from a three-game suspension after a violation of team rules. He saw playing time later in the game after incumbent Todd Porter threw four interceptions in the contest.
Roback was under center during the game-winning drive for the Eagles Friday night, who open a season 3-1 for the first time in 20+ years.