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2021 Mid-American Conference Football Week 8 Game Preview: Eastern Michigan Eagles at Bowling Green Falcons

Both teams look to find their place in a must-win situation.

Eastern Michigan Football Vs Bowling Green in Pictures
Eastern Michigan travels down to Bowling Green
Kenneth Bailey

Eastern Michigan takes the trek down US-23 to I-75 to Bowling Green, where they will face the Falcons. Eastern Michigan stands at the bottom of the MAC West with an overall record of 4-3 (1-2 MAC), while Bowling Green stands as the lone winless team in the league, with a 2-5 (0-3 MAC) record at the bottom of the MAC East.

A win for either team would be helpful, but it is absolutely a must-win situation for EMU, who could bunch up the MAC West race even further by bunching the midtable at 2-2 to keep pace in the division.

There is less to write about the Bowling Green rushing attack than the Eastern Michigan rushing attack, which is saying a lot. Bowling Green has had three games where they have rushed for over 100 yards. Their rushing leader is Jaisson Patterson, who is averaging about 30 yards per game. Their quarterback is Matt McDonald who is 155-for-254 for 1,641 yards, six passing touchdowns and six interceptions. McDonald also has three rushing scores for the Falcons. The top three receivers are Tyrone Broden, Austin Osborne and Jordan Anderson. The Falcons score and average of 19 points per game, but they give up 25 points per game.

NCAA Football: Bowling Green at Minnesota
Jordan Anderson was one of the heroes against Minnesota.
Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

On defense, a player of mention is Jordan Anderson, who has two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. The Falcon defense has found the quarterback 16 times this season, and also has six interceptions and five fumble recoveries. Unfortunately for them, their opponents have seven interceptions and six fumble recoveries.

Eastern Michigan averages 114 yards per game on the ground and 247 yards per game in the air. In the games that they’ve lost, they have averaged under 100 yards. They have three interceptions and five fumble recoveries. They have 13 sacks and have allowed 21 sacks.

The Eagle offense is led by Ben Bryant who is 129-of-199 for an average of 221 yards per game, and has an 8:4 TD-to-INT ratio. His leading targets are Hassan Beydoun, Dylan Drummond and Zack Westmoreland. The leading rusher is still Jawon Hamilton, a former James Madison transfer, who averages about 53 yards per game.

The Eagle defense is still led by Turan Rush with 3.5 sacks. There aren’t a ton of bright spots though.

On paper, I think the Eagles should crush the Falcons. The Eagles seem to have a more established running game but the Falcon passing attack might be the X-Factor. For ball security, Ben Bryant has been better than Matt McDonald but not by much. The Falcon defense has gotten more turnovers than the Eagle defense but the Falcon offense has given up more turnovers. I have a feeling, this game is going to come down to turnovers and I like Eagles odds in that battle... though, both teams seem to both turn over and takeaway the ball at similar rates. I would like to see Eastern dominate a MAC opponent but I’m not sure that is going to happen.

Kickoff for the game is at 12 p.m. Eastern time.