clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Eastern Michigan at Army Preview: Will Ron English Keep His Job?

The last time these two teams met up, the Eagles won 48-38 in a freaking shootout. Really? Army? Shootout?

Tyreese Russell is the team's leading receiver with 27 catches for 285 yards and 1 TD
Tyreese Russell is the team's leading receiver with 27 catches for 285 yards and 1 TD
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Which narrative should I go with here?

"The Eagles just need five more wins to be bowl eligible! Better late than never!"

No, that doesn't sound right. How about...

"If the 1-5 Eagles lose to Army, could that mean that this would be the end of the Ron English era?"

No, everybody knows he would've been fired already if they were going to do that. Oh, I know!

"WHEN IS BROGAN ROBACK GOING TO START?! THIS OFFENSE IS TERRIBLE!"

Meh, I'm not exactly feeling that, either.

I guess any way you look at this, there's nothing too exciting heading into this weekends game. I'd be shocked if this article received 6 page views. But I've added a poll question at the bottom, in hopes that I'd get more because this country was founded on answering poll questions and damnit, we're gonna answer them!

Last year, these two teams met up at Rynearson Stadium in what was, actually, a really good game. Eastern Michigan won 48-38 in a, you guess it, defenseless showdown. Tyler Benz had a huge game, throwing for 369 yards for five touchdowns and one interception. For a team that primarily has a "run-first" mentality, that's pretty good coming from a guy who didn't start until Week 4 of the season. Bronson Hill also had a very good game, picking up 185 yards off of 21 carries with a score.

Of course in that game, Benz's go-to receiver and then-leading receiver Garrett Hoskins (7 rec., 158 yards, 1 TD) has graduated, but his successor isn't doing half bad. In fact, Tyreese Russell is on pace to have a better senior year than what Hoskins had.

Receptions Rec. Yards Rec. TD Team Receptions Team Rec. Yards Team Rec. TD % of Team's Receptions % of Team's Rec. Yards
'12 Garrett Hoskins (through 5 games) 16 203 2 67 768 6 24% 26%
'13 Tyreese Russell (through 5 games) 27 285 1 97 1061 5 28% 27%

Of course this isn't fantasy MACtion college football, but this offense isn't too awful if we're going to look at these numbers. And I'm not discounting the fact that this team needs to get the ball into the end zone for any of this to matter. Let's also take into account that Benz wasn't the starting quarterback until Week 4 of last year and he's started every game this year. Through the first 5 games last year, Benz had 27 completions for 308 yards in less than half of the playing time that Alex Gillett had. This year, backup quarterback Brogan Roback only has 5 completions for 32 yards.

But you've read my posts before, so I'm not going to keep going on about the freshman.

Wait, the defense is the problem. Yeah, the defense! In fact, it's gotten worse than last year! The offense isn't scoring, but the defense is putting them in tough spots, right?

Opponent's Total Yards Opp. Total Score Opp Total TOP Opp. YPG Opp PPG Avg. Opp TOP EMU Total Score EMU PPG
2012 (through 5 games) 2,438 186 180:31 487.6 37.2 36:06 77 15.4
2013 (through 5 games) 2,227 190 136:54 445.4 38 27:11 75 15

"Dear MAChrist, Alex, make your mind up. Are you trying to say that this team is bad because of the offense or because of the defense? First you say the offense is doing better, but I have no idea where you're going with all of these numbers, you stupid nerd."

Thanks, David Price.

Sure, this defense has let up pretty much the same amount of yards and points, but they've done one thing that should be noted: the time of possession. Sure, that can be a pretty overrated measure at times, but, on average, the EMU offense is given around nine more minutes to get some points up on the board, but that just hasn't happened.

Like, c'mon, seriously. Nine more minutes? Nine?!

But I'm not going to put this on offensive coordinator Stan Parrish too much. Maybe if you don't throw an interception on a 2nd & Goal against Ball State, or have Roback's first touchdown pass called back because of a bonehead penalty. Or, here's an idea, let's not let our quarterback get sacked 5 times.

But seriously, like, c'mon.

You've got Army this week. Army. Like, really, you have Army. They're 2-4 with wins over Morgan State and Louisiana Tech. Want my silly scouting report on them? It's Army, they run the ball with that unsexy triple-option playbook of their's. They have two running backs with 59 carries, Terry Baggett and Larry Dixon, with 440 and 437 yards, respectively. Quarterback Angel Santiago has 291 passing yards (16 completions) and has run the ball for 366 yards off of 90 carries.

How does Eastern beat them?

How the heck do you think they beat Army? The same way everybody beats Army: stop the run and put some points up on the board. Don't turn the ball over, don't play stupid football. Like, c'mon, seriously.