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Five Things Learned: Northern Illinois Huskies at Eastern Michigan Eagles

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There were a lot of points and somebody had to win.

The Eagle landed near the end zone as if he were trying to tell us something.
Kenneth Bailey

Some of us were at the game. Some of you watched the game on ESPNU. We watched in disbelief as the Northern Illinois chipped away at the lead Eastern Michigan built up in the first half. So what did we learn from all this?

Maybe Northern Illinois isn’t as bad as their record indicates.

If you look at Northern Illinois’ overall record, they stand at 4-7. When you peel away the first layer, they are 4-3 in the MAC. When, you peel away other layers, you can see that they move the ball fairly well and they can score fairly well. They've also faced a good amount of injuried and have some freak losses on their record. (Hello, Wyoming.) They know how to win obviously.

Northern Illinois can run the ball.

Celebrating the touchdown that opened the second half.
Kenneth Bailey

Northern Illinois managed to gain 324 rushing yards on a defense that had been yielding less than 150 per game, up to this point. A good chunk of that rushing came from Jordan Huff. Another 91 of those yards came from fourth-string quarterback Daniel Santacaterina. Something tells me that the Huskies will be a force to be reckoned with in the MAC again next year.

Eastern Michigan needs to learn how to win.

Eastern Michigan has six wins, so obviously they can win. It seems like they are still having problems sealing the deal at points.

Northern Illinois made adjustments at halftime and Eastern seemed like they were playing catchup after that point.

It never seemed like they could put the Huskies away. It takes a long time for a program to figure out how to get the close wins, then the good wins, then the really good wins. This is a game they will want back, but just being in that position is encouraging for EMU. I think Eastern Michigan is close to a breakthrough and I’m hoping that this season is the start of something good, rather than just an anomaly like 2011.

Eastern Michigan has a bright future running the ball.

Blake Banham almost helped the Eagles get the victory back.
Kenneth Bailey

Eastern Michigan almost got 300 yards on the ground on Wednesday night, an encouraging stat considering Shaq Vann, rhe team's workhorse back, has been out for most of the season.

Blake Banham and Ian Eriksen are both sophomores. Willie Parker is a Freshman. I think if they can develop some patience and wait for the holes to develop, they could be a force to be reckoned with for the next couple of years.

The only thing that gives me some hesitation is that a good chunk of the offensive line graduates this year. Hopefully, the next generation is ready.

It seems like time creep is getting worse.

The game started at 8:00 last night and it was almost midnight when it finished. I realize there was overtime, but it was only one series and moved fairly quickly.

Take the overtime out and the game was still around 3.5 hours long. I remember watching games about 10 years ago and they would last around 3 hours. I’m not sure of causes, but it might be something to look into moving forward.