Eastern Michigan is emerging from a 5 and 7 season that could have just as easily been a 7 and 5 or better season. They lost by less than a touchdown in each game of their six game losing streak. They look to make a positive impact in Coach Creighton’s fifth season.
Head Coach: Chris Creighton is entering his fifth season in Ypsilanti. He is currently 15-34 with the Eagles and has one bowl appearance. This is is make or break season, I think.
Offensive Coordinator: Aaron Keen. He is in his fifth season at Eastern Michigan and his second as Offensive Coordinator. He is also the quarterbacks coach.
Defensive Coordinator: Neal Neathery. Neal is entering his third season and Eastern Michigan and the Eagles defense has improved considerably in both of those season. If the Eagles are to have a chance to do well this season, that defense has to hold.
Stadium: Rynearson Stadium
Rynearson Stadium is roughly at the corner of Hewitt and Huron Streets and was built in 1969. Eastern Michigan’s first game there was on September 27, 1969 where they defeated Akron by a score of 10-3. The stadium is named after Elton Rynearson who coached football at Eastern Michigan for 26 seasons. In that time, he secured a 114-58-15 record, making him by far the winningest Eastern Michigan coach. The stadium 30,200 people and closest they came to filling it was when they beat Central Michigan in 2008 in front of 26,188 people.
Monmouth August 31
at Purdue September 8
at Buffalo September 15
at San Diego State September 22
Northern Illinois (Family Day/Hall of Fame) September 29
at Western Michigan October 6
Toledo (Made in the Mitten/Band Day) October 13
at Ball State October 20
Army (Homecoming) October 27
Central Michigan November 3
Akron (Senior Day) November 10
at Kent State November 23
Mid American Conference Games in Bold.
Eastern Michigan finished 5-7 last year. They scored an average of 26.08 points per game and allowed 23.33 points per game. On the ground they averaged 130 yards per game while allowing 170 yards per game. The air they would gain 258 yards per game while holding their opponents to 190 per game.
Who to Watch:
As I said above, defense is going to be key to Eastern Michigan this year. As such, I will pick the defensive player to watch. Normally, I would pick Maxx Crosby but everyone else is picking him. You come here for deeper understanding or something like that, so I will pick Jeremiah Harris. He is picked for the first team preseason All MAC. He is also one of the team captains. Last year, he had 45 tackles with 12.5 of them for a loss. He also registered 6 sacks and a forced fumble. And two years ago, he sealed Eastern Michigan’s game against Central with an interception.
Eastern Michigan will have the choice of two quarterbacks in the form of Tyler Wiegers and Isaac Stiebling. They may have a dark horse in the running in the form of Aaron Jackson. The safe money is that Creighton will use Tyler Wiegers as he is the graduate transfer from Iowa. However, he hasn’t played much at Iowa, so I think it may be anyone’s position to take.
On running back, Shaq Vann will be returning for another season. The auto text on my computer says, “He could be an impact player if he stays healthy.” In the games, that he’s played in, he has been pretty successful but it also seems like he has a knack for getting hurt. I think he has the potential to run for over 100 yards per game. So we’ll see.
After going to the Bahamas Bowl in 2016, Eastern Michigan looked to build on that success in 2017. After defeating Rutgers for their first Power Five and Big Ten victory, it looked like a new Eagles team would emerge. They were able to come within four points of an SEC team but they ended up short. They seemed to hit their high against Rutgers and then fell flat for the rest of the season. The Eagles are returning a number of key starters on defense. Their line has a season of experience under their belt. They lose much with Brogan Roback playing for the Browns this year, but they have enough experience at the other skill positions to make up for that. Eastern Michigan may emerge as the surprise of the season.