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Five Things Learned: Buffalo Bulls at Eastern Michigan Eagles

Eastern Michigan was demolished by Buffalo, but what did we learn from that?

We saw this alot on Saturday
Kenneth Bailey

This is the second game that Eastern Michigan got blown out in the MAC. In both games, many holes were exploited, so what does all of this mean?

Buffalo may be that good

If Buffalo had scored two more points against Miami, they would be looking at a potential trip Detroit in December.

With two losses in the MAC East, I don’t think a berth in the MAC Championship game is a possibility, but they have a pretty good shot at getting to a bowl game somewhere. When I did the preview for this game, I saw that they had a pretty good running game, but their passing game looked pretty crisp yesterday, the second such week it looked to be the case. Buffalo was efficient, and it clearly showed.

Buffalo is pretty strong defensively

After yesterday’s game, they still average giving up 22 points per game. They did a pretty good job against the run, with 25 yards allowed all day and no first downs on the ground. Their average is around 85 yards per game. Those numbers pace them as amongst the best defenses in the country all-around, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Chibuze Onwuka nabbed MAC East defensive player of the week honors for his performance against EMU, racking up five tackles, a sack and a safety from the defensive tackle position. Not bad for a walk-on who was originally on the wrestling team.

It seemed like a defender was right there to stop Shaq Vann
Kenneth Bailey

Eastern Michigan’s run game still needs help

Shaq Vann only had 33 yards in the game. The rest of them took 8 yards off that total for a team net of 25 yards on the ground. Buffalo seemed pretty good at covering the run the game and it didn’t seem like Eastern Michigan was adjusting to that. Even the couple of times they tried end arounds, it was stuffed. If Eastern Michigan wants a shot at returned to bowl glory, they will need their run game to improve tremendously in order to do that.

The Eastern Michigan passing game looked mortal

When the game finished, Eastern Michigan had 185 yards passing. They have been averaging 278 yards per game. Neither quarterback looked good and the final nail for my game was when Preston Hutchinson threw the interception. I think much of that has to do with the lack of a running game.

The Eastern Michigan defense has been the biggest disappointment so far

Last year, Eastern Michigan gave up an average of 22 points per game. In 2017, it was 23 points per game. Both were improvements over Neal Neathery’s first year at Eastern Michigan in which the defense gave up 29 points per game which was an improvement over 2015’s 42 points per game.

This year, the Eastern Michigan defense has given up an average of 33 points per game. They have also fallen down in other defensive categories. I think much of that could be attributed to losing some experience on defense. I think this is just a blip and things will improve next year.

Neal Neathery, defensive coordinator
Kenneth Bailey