Eastern Michigan vs Western Michigan Preview: The Michigan MAC Opener

Jonathan Daniel

The only MAC game happening on Saturday and we get to have some fun with the Michigan MAC Trophy. Let's get this party started with the pair of 1-8 directional Michigan schools!

Eastern Michigan (1-8) vs Western Michigan (1-8)
Rynearson Stadium -- Ypsilanti, Michigan
Saturday, November 9th -- 1:00 p.m. ET -- TV: ESPNU

Dating back to 2005, the Michigan MAC Trophy has been introduced by the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, to help give the rivalries between Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan Universities. Western became the first Michigan MAC football champions in 2005, and that was their only year winning the award. Eastern, on the other hand, leads the pack by winning it four times (2007, '08, '11, '12).

Before I go on to tell you about what's going on this weekend with these two in-state rivals, let's just have a quick refresher about how one would win the Michigan MAC. There are two ways of winning it. One would be the old-fashioned way: beat both schools. If you win out, you get the trophy. Simple enough, right? Well the other way is pretty silly, but I don't make the rules, I just write about them for you to complain about them in the comment section below, but I digress. Since EMU is the defending Michigan MAC champ, they just have to at least beat the winner of the CMU/WMU game. Which means, if EMU wins this week, WMU beats CMU, EMU is automatically crowned Michigan MAC champs again, regardless of the outcome when they play CMU in the season finale.

I know, silly right?

Since the birth of the trophy, the Broncos hold the edge over the Eagles winning five out of the eight contests, but EMU has won the previous two games. And coming into this game, they're both in the middle of some really depressing situations.

The Eagles are playing for next year.

In the last couple of weeks, we've seen freshman Brogan Roback receive an adequate amount of playing time, considering this team's bowl game chances and Tyler Benz's bad habit of throwing balls in the end zone to guys on the opposing team. Ignore the records for a minute. Roback's two starts were against the Huskies and Rockets, who have the 13th and 7th ranked passing defenses in the MAC, respectively. The Broncos are actually the second to Bowling Green for having best passing defense in the conference, allowing 187.6 passing yards per game. By contrast, the Eagles have the third worst passing defense in the MAC (258.6 pass ypg).

However, Roback did throw 11-for-22 for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week in Toledo. He helped sophomore Dustin Creel have a career day where he compiled 115 yards and a touchdown off of six receptions the day before his 20th birthday. Creel has 34 receptions for 455 yards and four touchdowns this year as the second-leading receiver. Tight end Tyreese Russell is still leading the way with 37 catches for 492 yards and three scores.

The Broncos just need to keep paddling.

Western Michigan is also going without the quarterback who started in the beginning of the year. Redshirt freshman Zach Terrell has replaced Tyler Van Tubbergen after he had his shoulder injury. In the month of October, Terrell has completed 68 out of his 127 attempted passes for 827 yards for five touchdowns and four interceptions. He's made a good friendship with freshman Corey Davis on the field, where he caught 32 passes for 426 yards for three touchdowns in October.

Neither one of these schools will be headed to a bowl game when the season is over, but at least they still get to play for something.

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