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Fives Things Learned - Ball State at Eastern Michigan

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Not sure if we can learn much from a whooping, but we’ll try.

Neal Neathery has the Eastern Michigan defense humming.
Kenneth Bailey

Eastern Michigan laid down a beating that they haven’t done in a long time. It was the most points against an FBS opponent since they scored the same against Central Michigan in 2008. They had their largest margin of victory against a MAC opponent since beating Akron 45-0 in 1997. Eastern Michigan’s 225 rushing yards is the most they’ve run all season.

So what can we learn from all this?

1. Eastern Michigan is not as bad as their 3 and 6 record indicates.

Despite fact that all six losses were by a touchdown or less, they were still six losses. However, with some more creative play calling in the overtimes against Western Michigan and Northern Illinois, they could be looking at 5-4 right now and still be in the hunt for the MAC West title. Instead, they are looking at having to win three more games in order to qualify for a bowl game.

2. Ball State is a bad as they seem.

The opening snap pretty much says it all.
Kenneth Bailey

But I will give Ball State a little credit, Drew Plitt was their fourth quarterback this season. Caleb Huntley is their back up back. Eastern Michigan has been mostly injury free for the most part. I have a feeling they will be scary next year.

3. Brogan Roback is the man.

He was 15 for 21 with 263 yards. He three 3 touchdown passes. He also didn’t throw any picks. He still has a shot at surpassing Walter Church for the career passing mark at Eastern Michigan.

Brogan Roback throwing a pass to Sergio Bailey for one of his three touchdowns.
Kenneth Bailey

4. Eastern Michigan’s defense is actually good.

If there has been a common thread for Eastern Michigan in the past few years, it’s that their defense hasn’t been that good. They came close to holding Ball State to under three yards total offense. They also held them to two touchdowns and both of those were the result of a big play. If they can shut that down, they might be better next year even. For the year, they are hovering around holding their opponents to just a little over 20 points.

5. Eastern Michigan has a chance to make back to back bowl games.

The Eagles are not completely eliminated from bowl contention just yet. They have three games remaining. Next week’s game is against Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant. Central Michigan stands at 5-4 but is beatable. If Coach Creighton can put together another game like Thursday’s, they have a shot. After that, the Eagles head south where they will play the RedHawks in Oxford, Ohio. The RedHawks are standing at 3-6. The Eagles return to Rynearson Stadium, where they will play the Falcons of Bowling Green. The Falcons currently stand at 2-7.

Given that there are many bowls that are having trouble finding enough qualifying teams, Eastern Michigan might be able to sneak into a bowl if they run the table.