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Eastern Michigan at Toledo: Five Things Learned

You can learn quite a bit in a close game.

The Toledo Blue Crew
Kenneth Bailey

After posting my pictures from Saturday and taking some time to digest the game, here are some of the things that I learned.

Neal Neathery has this defense humming.
Kenneth Bailey

1. Eastern Michigan’s defense is the real deal.

I think I say this every week because it still surprises me. Last year, the Eastern Michigan defense made pretty good strides in improving their run defense. This year, they are making great strides in improving other aspects. Toledo came into this game as a juggernaut (or dreadnought for us Navy fans). They were scoring an average of 37.6 points per game. The Eastern Michigan defense was able to them to almost half of that. The Toledo line was holding opponents to about 2 sacks per game, the Eagles were able to double that. The Eagles defense held the Rockets’ rushing yards and passing yards to under their totals.

Art Thompkins trying to make some space.
Kenneth Bailey

2. Toledo seems to have another good running back.

After losing Hunt to the NFL, it seems like Toledo has another decent running back in Art Thompkins. He was almost able to get to 100 yards against Eastern Michigan. Given that he’s only a sophomore, I expect to be taking pictures of him torching the Eagles defense for two more years.

Brogan Roback setting up for a pass.
Kenneth Bailey

3. Brogan Roback is knocking on Eastern Michigan record books.

After passing for 253 yards against Toledo on Saturday, Brogan Roback has 7,043 career passing yards. He only needs a little over 500 yards to catch Charlie Batch. That number is certainly doable. If he can average 300 yards per game for the rest of the season (if they don’t make a bowl game), he can surpass Eastern Michigan’s current passing leader of Walter Church. I’m not sure if that’s doable but it would be nice to see.

Logan Woodside looking for a receiver
Kenneth Bailey

4. Logan Woodside is pretty good.

Logan Woodside threw for 289 yards and no picks. He was pretty efficient when he needed to be.

Shaq Vann tries to punch the hole but can’t.
Kenneth Bailey

5. The Eastern Michigan running game was better but still needs work.

Eastern Michigan was able to get 73 yards on the ground which is still better than 13 but still needs alot of work. I still think that Eastern Michigan is going to need to establish their ground game. As the nasty weather approaches, they wont be able to rely on Roback’s arm to get the ball moving. As I said before, I would love to see them run some off tackle stuff. Since the line can’t open holes for their running backs, maybe spreading the field will.

Bonus - Close games are frustrating.

I’ve been watching Eastern Michigan for many years and it seems like they were out of too many games. I actually thought they had a chance against Toledo. There were many instances in the game where I thought they might actually pull it out. Sadly, that didn’t happen but I feel like they are close.

Bonus Part Two - The MAC West is wide open.

It looked like Toledo might run away with things but I think that other teams have a chance to break it open. Despite two losses in the MAC, Eastern Michigan isn’t out of it. If they can find a way to improve their run game, they will start winning games. Toledo still looks like they can run away with it but they did show vulnerabilities. Western stands at 2-0 in the MAC but they showed they could win a shootout. Central still stands at 1-1 but they are showing promise. Northern Illinois may even be back. No comment on Ball State.