Eastern Michigan quarterback Ben Bryant’s debut in Camp Randall Stadium, a place he once thought he’d call home, did not go well.
The one-time University of Wisconsin commit finished 4 of 7 for 23 yards and was sacked twice in Saturday night’s 34-7 loss to the Badgers. Fellow Eagles quarterback Preston Hutchinson, who has split time with Bryant through two games this season, didn’t fare much better, going 6 of 13 for 53 yards with a sack and an interception.
Neither QB — Hutchinson poses more of a threat with his legs than Bryant (four carries for minus-4 yards), but finished with just 12 yards on three carries — found much success against a UW pass rush that feasted on an overmatched Eagles offensive line. The Badgers now have four sacks in two games and held the Eagles to 0.9 yards on 18 rushing attempts.
“On third downs they’re really creative,” Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton said. “Prepared all week for anything really — third-and-5 and more is where they bring some different pressures that are really tough to handle, and they’re good at it. So we worked them, but we weren’t able to keep ‘em off our quarterback all the time, that’s for sure.”
The Eagles converted just two of their 11 third-down attempts. One of those third downs ended in Bryant’s first sack of the game.
Bryant once appeared destined to don Wisconsin’s red and white. The 2018 La Grange (Illinois) graduate pledged to UW in December 2016 when the Badgers were the first Power Five program to offer the three-star signal caller.
But UW rescinded Bryant’s scholarship offer shortly after Bryant tweeted in May 2017 that he’d received an offer from the Georgia Bulldogs.
Over the next four years Bryant went from a UW verbal commit, to a Cincinnati pledge, to a graduate transfer at EMU. The circuitous route eventually brought him back to Camp Randall, where he made his one and only appearance in the stadium.
After his offer had been pulled, Bryant tweeted a lengthy apology note that said in part: “The implication that my loyalty to UW had been compromised was not true and is what saddens me the most.”
Email Jake Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @jakeadams520