The name Bert Emanuel is best known to football fans for the former wide receiver who caught a key pass in the final minute of the 1999 NFC Championship Game only to have it overturned on replay, a controversial ruling that led the NFL to clarify the catch rule the following offseason. But now there’s another Burt Emanuel making waves in the football world.
Bert Emanuel Jr., son of the wide receiver who played from 1994 to 2001, plays college football at Central Michigan and is a true freshman quarterback who is redshirting this season. But with the season winding down, Central Michigan decided in Wednesday night’s game against Buffalo to take advantage of the NCAA rule that allows redshirt freshmen to play in up to four games without losing a year of college eligibility and give Emanuel some playing time. And he made the most of it.
Emanuel wasn’t the starter at quarterback, but Central Michigan had him take some snaps in running situations, and Emanuel looked good running the ball, and so they kept going to him, and by the end of the game he had run for a stunning 293 yards.
Emanuel opened the second half with a 75-yard touchdown run, and that wasn’t even his best play of the third quarter. Later in the third quarter Emanuel made one of the best runs you’ll ever see, taking a shotgun snap and running up the middle, somehow staying off the ground while appearing to be tackled in the middle of a pileup, and then breaking into the clear, outrunning all but one last tackler, and breaking that last tackle at the 5-yard line to get into the end zone for an 87-yard touchdown.
Emanuel’s performance in Wednesday night’s #MACtion game will instantly make him a big name in the football world, not only among Central Michigan fans but among fans of bigger programs who will hope Emanuel transfers and takes his talents to a Power 5 school. He may soon make the name Bert Emanuel evoke a great running quarterback, rather than a controversial call in the NFC Championship Game.