The Eastern Michigan Eagles hop on their charter jet and head down to Lexington, Kentucky, where they will face the University of Kentucky Wildcats for the first time.
The Eagles are 2-1 (0-1 MAC) after their disappointing loss to the Ohio Bobcats. The Wildcats are 3-1 (0-1 SEC) after their loss to the Florida Gators. So what can we expect from all of this?
When the Wildcats have the ball:
The University of Kentucky Wildcats offense is led by Quarterback Stephen Johnson who has a 64% completion percentage for 191 yards per game. He has thrown one pick. His favorite target is CJ Conrad, but he is followed pretty closely by Garrett Johnson. The Wildcats’ leading rusher is Benny Snell Jr., who averages 83 yards per game.
Kentucky averages around 25 points per game, which is surprising considering they’re an SEC side. In their game against Florida, they fell apart in the second half after holding a double-digit lead and eventually lost on a play where the defense had 10 players on the field. There will be plenty of opportunities to score an upset.
Eastern Michigan’s defense is led by Brady Hoying with 21 tackles and two interceptions. They have been a big surprise this year by holding their opponents to an average of 15 points per game. Last week in regulation, they held the Bobcats to two field goals. So far, they have created an average of two turnovers per game and two sacks per game. Given the numbers for the Kentucky offense, I see no reason why that should change.
When Eastern Michigan has the ball
Last week against the Bobcats, Eastern Michigan had 45 net yards rushing. Once again, I think if Eastern Michigan is going to have a chance, they need to establish their running game.
They are facing a defense that has allowed 89 yards per game, so I think this is going to be a tough task for Eastern Michigan to accomplish. From the two games I’ve watched, it seems like the line is not creating the holes for the rushing attack. Perhaps Creighton should try some end arounds or off tackle runs. I think Shaq Vann is up to that task.
For as lethargic as the running game has been, the passing game has been pretty good. Brogan Roback has a 60% completion rate and averages 266 yards per game. His favorite target has been Sergio Bailey II with 89 yards per game. Given that they are facing a defense that has allowed 269 yards per game, I see no reason why their aerial game won’t be effective.
What to Expect:
Based on what I’ve seen so far, I expect a low scoring game.
On paper, both defenses appear to be pretty good. Eastern Michigan’s defense seems to be a little more aggressive and better at forcing turnovers. So I think this game will be decided by the turnover battle. If Eastern Michigan can get their running game moving, they might have a chance though.
My gut is telling me that Eastern Michigan will lose but my heart hopes that they can pull this one out. So we’ll see.