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Freshman QB Bert Emanuel Jr. puts on FBS rushing spectacle
CMU redshirt freshman QB Bert Emanuel Jr. burst onto the national scene following an FBS rushing spectacle against the Buffalo Bulls on November 9. The Chippewas won with a final score of 31-27. (Credit: Jack Reeber/Central Michigan University Athletics)

Freshman QB Bert Emanuel Jr. puts on FBS rushing spectacle

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (BVM) – Bert Emanuel Jr., a Central Michigan University redshirt freshman QB, rushed for 293 yards and the first three touchdowns of his career on Wednesday against Buffalo – in what was only the second game of his college career. 

Watch below the viral play by Emanuel Jr. – who was nearly down but managed to roll over the defender and accelerate to an 87-yard touchdown. It was also worthy of making SportsCenter’s Daily Top 10 Plays at No. 3. 

Emanuel Jr. is the son of Bert Emanuel Sr., who is a former Buccaneers wide receiver and is the NFL legend who changed the rules of a catch with the “Bert Emanuel Rule.” 

“His performance last night was incredible for a true freshman, on national TV, under the spotlights,” Emanuel Sr. said on Thursday. “I want young players, fans and sports enthusiasts to understand that it has not been easy. It’s been hours upon hours of work behind closed doors perfecting the mental, physical and emotional skills needed to accept challenges head-on and trust the process. BJ is a living example of that right now and I’m so proud of him for seizing the moment and taking advantage of his opportunity.” 

Interestingly enough, Emanuel Jr. is a redshirt freshman at CMU this year. Due to NCAA rules, he’s allowed to play up to four games if he wants to have another four years left of eligibility. So, he has just two more games that he can play this season. 

“The biggest challenge with being redshirted I think has been going from playing every game as a high school senior to only playing in four games during the redshirt year,” Emanuel Sr. said. “BJ has a very high level of emotional and mental abilities that help him deal with the nuances of the game and focus on the things that he can control. I think this gives him a competitive advantage and helps shorten the learning curve.”  

It’s clear now that this 6-foot-3 Chippewas QB went under the radar. With the help of his two rushing touchdowns of 75-plus yards from Wednesday, his 293 rushing yards are already the fourth-highest for a single game in CMU history. On a broader scale, that’s the most by any FBS QB since 2019. What’s more shocking is that Emanuel Jr. fell short of no more than two total FBS offers as a high school recruit. In fact, he only had five total offers including from Army, Lamar, Abilene Christian and Texas Southern. 

He played last year for Ridge Point – a Texas high school near Houston. As a senior last season, he passed for 2,655 yards, 31 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed for 1,030 yards and another 15 touchdowns. 

“His recruiting was extremely challenging as lots of people didn’t believe those stats from his senior season,” Emanuel Sr. said. “That was challenging when it was overlooked. So his journey didn’t start his freshman year on campus — it started with those that doubted his abilities. I truly believe that this is only the beginning.”