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at Eastern Michigan 41 ... Howard 9

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 4, 2011


Week 1 CFN Fearless Prediction - Howard at Eastern Michigan

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 1 - Howard at EMU

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Sept. 3 at Eastern Michigan 41 ... Howard 9
CFN Analysis: Never, ever dismiss what it’s like for Eastern Michigan to blowout a team. Howard might be awful, but the Eagles needed a 41-9 win just to have a little fun being on the other end of an ugly game. Alex Gillett might have had a few problems with the passing game, completing just 12-of-21 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns with a pick, but the Eagles had no problems pounding away with Dominique Sherrer and Javonti Greene each running 14 times for 120 yards and a score. The EMU defense only allowed a field goal, with a pick six accounting for the other points, and now the hope is for the fun to continue against Alabama State before reality – and Michigan – sets in.

(AP) YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Dominique Sherrer and Javonti Greene each ran for 120 yards and touchdown to lead Eastern Michigan to a 41-9 victory against Howard on Sunday in a game that was pushed back a day because of thunderstorms in the Midwest.

Julien David gave Howard (0-1) a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, returning an interception 29 yards for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion failed.

Trailing 9-3, the Eagles scored 24 points in the second quarter to take command.

After a field goal, Alex Gillett hooked up with Garrett Hoskins for a 25-yard touchdown pass at 11:31 of the second quarter.

Greene added a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:31 remaining before half and Gillett scored on a 14-yard run t0 make it 27-9.

Gillett finished with 115 yards passing and two touchdowns and 76 yards rushing.

Sherrer had a 77-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. It was the first touchdown of his career and the second longest for an EMU player in Rynearson Stadium.

Howard (0-0) vs. Eastern Michigan (0-0) Sept. 1, 7:00 
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Here’s The Deal … This one may as well be about Ron English. Since being dubbed as one of the next great head coaches as an assistant under Lloyd Carr, his career has been somewhat of a bear market. In his first season in 2009, EMU was winless. Last year, the Eagles managed to sneak out two wins for a slight step forward. This year figures to be English's make or break season. If the team suffers through a spell of embarrassing blowout losses, he figures to be looking for work. An opener against the Howard Bison is exactly what the program-building doctor wanted for a program that hasn't won a home game since 2008. This is a chance to reverse that trend. Why such confidence? Howard was equally brutal last year at 1-10. Nonetheless, this is their first look at decorated alum Gary Harrell as head coach, who will coach his first game as the head man at any level.

Why Howard Might Win: Even with a coach nicknamed “Flea,” the Bison figures to barely be pesky enough to mount much of an effort. It's become regular anymore for an FCS team to win against FBS competition, but Howard can't even beat its own division foes right now. A new coach and a returning quarterback - Jarad Dorsey - would normally bring more optimism, but even after the spring game, Harrell admitted that the team was missing playmakers. The defense should be better than last year's, which held only four teams under 20 points all season, but it'd take a near miracle to stay competitive for too long being badly outclassed at every position. The team isn’t sleek or fast enough to avoid the pounding from a much bigger football team, even EMU.

Why Eastern Michigan Might Win: In spite of being one of the perennial doormats in FBS since pretty much forever, it’s playing a team that was one of the worst – and in the lower division. Howard was abhorrent last year, but there are reasons for optimism regardless of the opponent. Dual threat QB Alex Gillett has been English's starter since Day One as a freshman, and he last year matured into a dangerous weapon. In spite of a shoddy 55% completion rate, he led the team with nearly 800 rushing yards with. He’s by far the best offensive player on the field, and he should be able to put up big numbers. The EMU defense might not be anything great, but it returns its entire front four.

What To Watch Out For: Gillett is the guy you might need to add to the back of your college football lexicon. He's shown growth in spades over the last two years, and figures to take the most quantum leap this time around. It would be nice to see some pressure taken off of him, and freshman RB Ryan Brumfield is hopefully the guy to do it. In spite of Coach English's defensive background, the D gave up nearly 44 points per game last season, and was jacked around for 70+ points twice. The Eagles were flat out miserable with just two picks, and returning defensive backs Marcell Rose and Willie Williams need to change that.

For Howard, it’s all about the defense. Linebacker Markee White is a 6-4 pass rushing demon, who received great praise from Coach Harrell in the spring game. With fairly massive size for the position, the sophomore is physically imposing coming off the edge.

What Will Happen: EMU will get their first home win of the English era. If Howard has the “Flea” on its side, consider the Eagles to be “Frontline.” This schedule - with two lower level FCS teams to open up the season - is clearly by English’s design to get a few wins and some confidence in the program before being drug off for slaughter by Big 10 teams, as opposed to starting the season with those. Look for Gillett to put up massive numbers for the three quarters that he plays, and look for English to try and get the running game on track. Harrell said his primary focus was re-installing “pride” in the Howard program which will mean effort, but not results.

CFN Prediction: Eastern Michigan 47 ... Howard 12
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