Eastern Michigan looked pretty decent against Monmouth.
That said, I’ve found wondering over the last few days about how decent exactly the Eagles were. Even though I was worried about the game, an FBS team should beat an FCS team nine times out of 10. If you look at last year’s record, Monmouth was a pretty decent FCS team which finished 9-3. EMU beat Monmouth pretty handily by a final of 51-17, but let’s see if the numbers can glean any other revelations about the Eagles offense.
Taken at the top level, the Eastern Michigan offense ran a total of 66 plays. Of those plays, 39 were rushing plays and 27 were passing plays. They were able to gain 171 yards on those 39 rushing plays, meaning that they netted 4.4 yards on average. That’s not a bad number but for some reason, it seems like it should be better. When taking to the air, they were able to gain 302 yards. That seems to be a more respectable number, especially when you consider they were able to net 11.2 yards per pass.
In the field position battle, Eastern Michigan had an average start at the 35 yard line. They only started inside the 20 for two drives. Their worst field position for the night was at their own 5 yard line. They averaged 13.5 yards on punt returns. I think this bodes well for the future.
Rushing duty was split between three players for the most part. Eastern Michigan’s rushing leader was Shaq Vann with 53 yards on 12 attempts. He was followed by Ian Eriksen for 44 yards with 12 attempts. Quarterback Mike Glass was third on the list with 37 yards on 6 attempts. Of their 39 rushing attempts, only three went for more than 10 yards. Six rushes were between five and ten yards. Six rushes were for zero yards or less. The rest fell between 0 and 5 yards. The three rushes that went for more than 10 yards were towards the end of the game. I’m thinking that means that the defensive line for Monmouth was already broken. If I’m remembering correctly, many of the Eastern runs were between the tackles. I wish I had more data but it seems like they were having more success running outside the tackles.
The Eastern Michigan aerial game looked much better. The bulk of the passing duty was carried by Tyler Wiegers. He was 18 for 21 for 238 yards with two touchdowns. He was followed by Mike Glass who was 3 for 5 for 30 yards and two touchdowns in the air and one on the ground. With the exception of 102 yards being caught by Blake Banham, receiving duty was split pretty evenly. Scoring was spread between five receivers.
So what does all of this mean?
I think that Eastern Michigan still needs to do some tweaking of their running game. One of the reasons they were able to put up the numbers they did was because they were facing an overmatched line. I think if they are going to improve on last year’s record, they will need to run the ball better.
We’ll know more about EMU’s standing in the MAC when they play Purdue this weekend.