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What We Learned: Takeaways from Eastern Michigan’s 35-15 win against St. Francis (PA)

In honesty, it felt like an Eagles team keeping the lid on what they’re truly capable of.

Kenneth Bailey

By beating St. Francis by a score of 35-15, Eastern Michigan had a pretty convincing win. Watching the game, they were in command from the time the game started until the game ended (with a few hiccups). However, St. Francis is an FCS team, so I don’t think we learned much. I think we will learn a lot more when Eastern Michigan plays Wisconsin this weekend.

Eastern Michigan can have a running game

Eastern Michigan was able to get 221 yards against St. Francis. The bulk of those yards came from Darius Boone who had 107 of them. He is one of the backs that returned from last season and I think he is the back that will carry the load this year. This doesn’t mean he’ll be the lone contributor. As usual, there will likely be a committee, with Samson Evans looking to be a power option and Jawon Hamilton likely seeing time on speed looks or as a spell back. However, I’ll make a better judgement for what that situation is when Eastern Michigan faces a team more their size.

Eastern Michigan needs to improve their passing game

Eastern Michigan got 189 yards against St. Francis. They should have had more passing yards. Their longest reception was 44 yards by Hassan Beydoun. It’s possible they didn’t pass much because they really didn’t need to, give the level of competition they faced, but we’ll see. Beydoun is projected to be EMU’s primary receiver, no matter who is flinging the ball in his direction.

Speaking of that, regardless of whether Ben Bryant or Preston Hutchinson was at QB, the passing offense left a lot to be desired, especially from Hutchinson, who looked out of sorts in his relief role as he went 7-of-12 for 63 yards and the team’s lone interception. Bryant, for as efficient as he was, was only 8-of-10 for 126 yards and no touchdowns. Taking out the 44-yarder, Bryant had an 11.7 yard per completion average.

The defense needs some tuning

They gave up 290 total yards to a team they shouldn’t have, including 105 yards on the ground. This is a bit of a concern, as the Eagles will next facea a team that is traditionally a power running unit. Their pass defense was okay, but again, they had size and speed on the Red Flash, so it should have been okay.

There is no fourth or fifth lesson... at least for this week. Eastern Michigan didn’t really need to punt and when they did, for the most part they were booming punts. Eastern Michigan didn’t kick any field goals. Every time they were fourth and short, they went for it. As a result, Eastern Michigan only punted once.

I hope there are lessons that the team learned though, as the season only gets tougher from here.