clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Eastern Michigan to face South Alabama in 2023 68 Ventures Bowl

The Eagles learn their assignment for the postseason, traveling to the Gulf Coast to play the South Alabama Jaguars.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Eastern Michigan at Western Michigan

The Eastern Michigan Eagles (6-6, 4-4 MAC West) managed to find their way to the postseason after some trials and tribulations, earning an opportunity to play the South Alabama Jaguars (6-6, 4-4 Sun Belt Conference) at the 2023 68 Ventures Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

The Eagles did not play a lot of pretty football in 2023, finishing in the low 100’s in offense, while playing a lot of bad defense early in the season before clamping down in conference play to finish as a middling group. They did, however, manage to persevere throughout the season, keeping turnovers low (15 lost) while gaining enough takeaways (18) to generate a positive turnover margin.

The Eagles average 272.2 total yards per game on offense, good enough to be 127th in the NCAA, with 158.6 yards of those yards through the air (121st) and 113.6 yards on the ground (110th.)

EMU centers their game on defense, coming into their game against South Alabama as the 70th-best unit in the NCAA, giving up a total of 382.8 yards per game. Their passing offense is their main strength, allowing just 205.2 yards per game (30th in NCAA) and 13 touchdowns through the air in the 2023 campaign. Where teams tend to get their goat is in the run game, as the Eagles are one of the worst run stop units, averaging 177.7 yards allowed and 17 rushing touchdowns overall.

The Jaguars come into the contest at an identical record as the Eagles, with many up-and-downs throughout the 2023 campaign. USA famously trounced Oklahoma State on the road back on Sept. 16 by a final score of 33-7, forcing the Cowboys to reconsider their roster make-up after the contest. But the Jags also threw down a shocker of a performance the next week at home vs, Central Michigan, allowing Jase Bauer to score five total touchdowns and losing by one score to a team they were projected to beat by double-digits.

The Jags are a Top 50 unit on both sides of the ball, sitting at 424.6 total offensive yards per game (37th in NCAA)— with the majority of that production through the air (264.9 yards, 34th in NCAA)— while also giving up just 326.8 yards per game on defense (28th in NCAA). USA has 19 forced turnovers as a defense, with 11 interceptions and eight recovered fumbles.

This postseason bowl contest will be the first meeting between the two programs, with South Alabama’s home stadium serving as the site for the neutral game.

The game is set to be played at Hancock-Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, on Saturday, December 23rd, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern time.