Week 6 saw an unfortunate performance by EMU at home against the class of the conference, Toledo. Looking to avenge their close loss to Florida, Toledo came out firing on all cylinders. Leading 21-3 at the half, they doubled up, winning by a final score of 42-6. In particular their quarterback Michael Thompson wound up with a QBR of 139, running back Gabe Ciamo went for 170 yards and 3 TD’s, and a stifling defense held EMU to 170 yards with 3 sacks and 2 interceptions. On the bright side, there were no injuries, and the EMU kicker, Simon Hand, was 2/2 on fg’s!
Moving onto week 7, coach tsweezy is looking for a more competitive game in his first full week as a head coach. Things won’t be any easier though as EMU travels to Kalamazoo to take on the other ranked team in the MAC: the Western Michigan Broncos.
At 4-0, and with a win against a ranked Duke squad, WMU is out to prove last years CFP berth was not a fluke. While this has all the markings of a blowout, let’s see if there is any hope for EMU to pull off the upset.
WMU Offense vs. EMU Defense
This year WMU is again running a pistol offense, relying on feeding DeSean Madison enough carries to keep the chains moving while dual threat QB Chase Sims can mix it up to keep the defense guessing. While Chase has had low volume statistics, he is efficient; leading the MAC in y/a and 3rd in QBR. The real key to making this offense go is the ground game. Former 5 star recruit Madison currently ranks 6th in the nation with 147.7 ypg and 8 touchdowns already. It’s clear that the secret to success for EMU will be to sell out on stopping the run and daring Sims to shoulder the load with a fairly pedestrian wide receiver corps.
Unfortunately, this may prove to be too tall of a task as EMU is currently the worst defensive team in the MAC by yardage allowed. The passing discrepancy is disappointing, as the Eagles’ defensive backfield is not composed of duds, and based of their potential they should be able to match up with WMU wideouts one-on-one. Their real weakness seems to lay in their defensive line depth. With undersized defensive ends, it has been tough for EMU to set the edge or get enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks to force mistakes. Perhaps the recent coaching change will be enough to light a fire under these players and coax a well-played game from them.
EMU Offense vs. WMU Defense
On defense, Western Michigan is content to sit back in a 4-3, relying on their all-senior defensive backfield and capable defensive front to stifle opponents. While not showcasing a particular weakness against the run or pass, WMU appears to have some weakness in the front 7. While they have a stout defensive line, the backups are not going to be world beaters, and if you wear them down you can have some success. In addition, their linebacking core is solid if not spectacular, barring the new 5-star freshman Christian Reese. While he may have a ton of potential, there are still moments when you remember that he is a freshman and is not quite as seasoned as the others. Overall, while certainly capable, and having performed well so far, this defense is not unbeatable.
Eastern Michigan however, is not suited to take advantage of these weaknesses. With a conference low 62 rushing ypg, their running backs have been completely ineffective. Their passing offense is respectably mediocre by contrast, although it seems as if their offensive gameplan is not utilizing QB Shaw’s scrambling talents to their fullest extent, as he has only 13 rushing attempts despite averaging almost 6.5 ypc. Perhaps this team would benefit from simply handing the reins to Shaw and allowing him to carry the team.
Nothing much to write home about here. Both teams are evenly matched with moderate success, although of note is that EMU has changed their return man after lackluster results to open the season.
After a deeper dive, it does appear that WMU can be beat, but it is also clear that EMU will not be the team to do it. Even with a new coach and updated philosophies, the talent mismatch seems to be too great.
Final prediction: WMU over EMU 45-10