After beating Howard 34-24 at home, the Eastern Michigan Eagles will have their hands full against the Penn State Nittany Lions this Saturday. Penn State is coming off of a season-opening 23-17 win over Syracuse.
Though many of us have already inked this game in as a 'loss' for the Green and White, but it wasn't very long ago when a MAC school traveled to Beaver Stadium and beat Penn State. So can the Eagles follow suit?
Whether you say that can or say they can't, here are some things to watch out for:
Darius Jackson. Seven carries for 64 yards and score against Howard last week. Jackson is a tough runner that can can get yards after contact, taking some pressure off of Bronson Hill. Let's see how much playing time he'll get tomorrow against one of the better defenses he'll see this season.
Big plays against. The Eagles let up a 65-yard touchdown run and a 75-yard run where the drive would result in a touchdown in their game against Howard. If the defense can stick to their assignments and not over-pursue on these runs, the big plays will be very limited for the Nittany Lions.
Go-to receiver or spread the wealth? Three players (Jay Jones, Demarius Reed, Dustin Creel) had four receptions last week for the Eagles. I'm still curious to see as to who Tyler Benz is the most comfortable with. Tyreese Russell had a pair of receptions, including an 18-yard touchdown grab. Benz did seem to target him a few times, but the balls were overthrown.
Speaking of Benz, he went 19-for-27 with a pair of scores and a an interception. I get people want to see what Brogan Roback is all about, but why would you want to rush it? Benz is the quarterback for this team, a good one at that. I don't think Stan Parrish came in here to work all summer on his redshirt junior, just to be sat by the true freshman. Roback will have his time, but right now it's about Benz. Just watch what he can do. We remember the game he had against Michigan State last year, let's see what he can do against Penn State this weekend.
I wouldn't be shocked to see Penn State win this game 49-10, but I wouldn't be too shocked to see Eastern pull off the upset, either. I get we already had our MAC over B1G upset for the year, but I wouldn't complain to see another one. An interception or two for the Eagles could always be a big help. My heart tells me EMU will do that, but my head says: Penn State wins 38-24
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