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2016 MAC Football Preview: Miami Redhawks @ Eastern Michigan Eagles

A game that should be closer than expected

The RedHawks fly into Ypsilanti and hope to fly away with a win
Kenneth Bailey

When I traveled down to Oxford last year, I was expecting a game where Eastern Michigan may get its second win of the season. It turned into the game where Eastern Michigan seemed to give up.

This year a very different Eastern Michigan team is hosting the Miami RedHawks. If you go strictly on records, Eastern Michigan should crush them but of course, we like to go a little deeper.

When Miami has the ball.

Billy Bahl was replaced two games ago by Gus Ragland
Kenneth Bailey

The Miami aerial attack was led by sophomore Billy Bahl but he was replaced by Gus Ragland who started the Kent State and Bowling Green games and won both of those games. In those two games, he’s completed 57% of his passes for an average yardage of 198 per game. Unlike Billy Bahl, he hasn’t thrown a pick. The favorite passing target is James Gardner.

Alonzo Smith rushing pretty well against Eastern Michigan last year.
Kenneth Bailey

The Miami ground game is split between Alonzo Smith who averages about 50 yards a game and Kenny Young who has about 40 yards per game. Combined with other players, the ground game yields about 111 yards per game.

They are going to face a greatly improved Eastern Michigan defense that is led in tackles by Jason Beck, Kyle Rachwal and Ikie Calderon. It has limited opponents to 142 yards per game. They have averaged about two sacks per game. I think that versus a line that allows about four sacks per game should be able to help a secondary that’s not particularly strong.

When Eastern Michigan has the ball.

Brogan Roback has emerged as the starter
Kenneth Bailey

The Eastern Michigan aerial attack is being led by junior Brogan Roback. I’m not sure if Todd Porter is still injured but Roback has emerged as the clear starter in my mind. He has a 64% completion rate and has only thrown two picks in his games. His main target is Sergio Bailey but his alternate target of Antoine Porter is not too far behind. I think that Eastern may be able to pick apart Miami like they did Western Michigan.

Willie Parker looking for daylight
Kenneth Bailey

The Eastern Michigan ground game is serviceable but it needs considerable improvement. I’m not sure why Ian Eriksen didn’t play in the Western Michigan game but it seems like his replacement Willie Parker should work. Although their feature back has been Breck Turner who is averaging about 50 yards per game. I’ll say the same thing that I say every week, Eastern Michigan really needs to get its running game going.

They will be facing a defense that is led in tackles by Tony Reid. Roback will have to be very solid against a defense that has averaged an interception per game. Eastern Michigan’s offensive line should be up to the task of giving Roback time as they have only given up five sacks so far. If there is one shortcoming of the Miami defense, it has given up 27 points per game.

What does all this mean.

I think we may end up seeing a high scoring game here. If that ends up being the case, I like Eastern Michigan’s chances. I think their offense is more solid that Miami’s. This may give Eastern Michigan a chance to be aggressive on defense. Like I said above, if they can get to Bahl, the secondary will get some help. When the clock strikes 0:00, I’ll predict Eastern Michigan winning with a score of 31 to 21.

How Can I Watch?

The game will be shown on American Sports Network. Look up your cable company to find out what that means. You can watch it streaming on ESPN3. If you are in the Ypsilanti area, you can listen to the fine broadcast on WEMU at 89.1 on your radio dial. If you are not in the Ypsilanti area, you can listen to it streaming at If you prefer the RedHawk slant, you can find one of their radio affiliates. Early indications are that the weather might actually be pretty nice for Saturday.