2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 7 - EMU at CMU
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Oct. 15 Eastern Michigan 35 … at Central Michigan 28
CFN Analysis: So Eastern Michigan can’t throw the ball. As long as Alex Gillett is on the move, the offense is working. The Eagles gashed Central Michigan for 350 yards and five touchdowns with Gillett taking off for the game winning score in the final moments in one of the most exciting wins the program has had in years. All of a sudden, EMU is 4-3 and is looking and playing like a real, live, football team. The run defense did a nice job against CMU, partly because the pass defense was giving up yards in chunks, but the offense made up for the problems with timely runs converting 8-of-13 third down chances. To nitpick, if the O is going to run for 350 yards and five touchdowns, it needs to do more to control the clock. Is a bowl bid possible? It’ll take three more wins to do it, and with Ball State, Buffalo, and Kent State coming up after Western Michigan, it’s okay for this team to dream big if the ground game is going to keep working like this.
The defensive front has been a problem all year, especially when it comes to getting to the quarterback, but losing to Eastern Michigan at home in the final minute was particularly galling since Ryan Radcliff seemingly had the game won late. The Northern Illinois upset seems like years ago, and now after losing what was supposed to be the home layup, there’s no margin for error. Going on the road for three games might seem daunting, but going to Ball State, Akron, and Kent State aren’t that bad. Even so, this game is going to hurt.
(AP) MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- Alex Gillett scored on a 30-yard run with 37 seconds left, and Eastern Michigan beat Central Michigan 35-28 on Saturday despite blowing a late 15-point lead.
Central Michigan (2-5, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) had tied the game at 28 when Ryan Radcliff hit Jerry Harris with a 2-yard touchdown pass with 1:09 remaining, then found Titus Davis on a two-point conversion. Davis and Radcliff had hooked up for an 11-yard score on the Chippewas' previous drive.
But Gillett needed only three plays to get the Eagles (4-3, 2-1) back on top, completing a 14-yard pass before a 20-yard run and the game-winning 30-yard score. Gillett had just 76 yards passing, but rushed for 93 more.
Eastern Michigan's vaunted running game produced all five touchdowns. Dominque White rushed for 161 yards and a score, and Javonti Greene had 96 yards and three TDs.
Radcliff threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns.
Eastern Michigan (3-3) at Central Michigan (2-4) Oct. 15, 3:00
Here’s The Deal …Both teams are sitting at 1-1 in conference play and need to win this one to keep any hope alive at keeping pace with the contenders in the league. Eastern Michigan is coming off of an annihilation at the hands of Toledo while Central Michigan lost a pretty respectable game against NC State after getting its first MAC win against a offensive minded Northern Illinois squad the week earlier. Ron English wants to keep his Eastern Michigan squad steered towards improvement, and head coach Dan Enos wants to get his Chippewas back among the elite in the league.
The two teams are very familiar with each other
having squared off a total of eighty-eight times
previously, with CMU leading the series 55-27-6 all
time. Most recently, the teams have split the last
eight meetings, with CMU taking the last two. The winner gets a leg up on the annual Michigan MAC trophy awarded to the round robin play between Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, and Central Michigan. The Chippewas aren’t planning on letting it go without a fight.
Why Eastern Michigan Might Win: Though the Eagles have struggled to put points on the board consistently, the one area in which they seek their identity is in their 25th ranked ground game. It just so happens that the Central Michigan defense has struggled stopping the rushing attack of other teams--giving up nearly 160 yards per contest. You can bet that doesn’t go unnoticed by the EMU coaching staff.
The Eagles will look to control the clock as they always plan to do, but this time with a real chance to move the chains consistently because of the inability of Central Michigan to make key stops against the run and get the defense off the field. The Eagles will pound and pound until the Chippewa’s defense wears down and eventually breaks. It’ll be a breaking of the wills and Eastern Michigan should be able to stay in this one and be the last one standing at the end.
Why Central Michigan Might Win: EMU can certainly run the ball, but not much else. The passing game is almost non-existent meaning that helping out the run game is a long shot each and every week. To prove that point, one need only look at the issues that the Eagles have had on offense, only averaging about 18 points a ballgame. Eastern Michigan is going to have issues scoring no matter what defense they are matched-up with. That includes the CMU defense.
Defensively, Eastern Michigan is giving up a bevy of yards through the air, and though the Chippewas have yet to really get things humming offensively, they will chuck the ball around the yard a bit. The passing game is still a work in progress but a little above average at just over 230 yards a game. Look for that to go up this game because the Eagles have had all kinds of issues covering teams that spread them out and look to pass first. CMU should be able to dink and dunk their way down the field and load up defensively against a one dimensional EMU team to have every opportunity to walk away as winners.
What To Watch Out For: Offense. Which team will be able to score more? The answer to that lies in whomever can get the other means of transportation moving. For Eastern Michigan, it likes to run the ball almost exclusively. For Central Michigan, it will be looking to rack up the air miles with almost no regard to the running game. Whichever team can get some sort of balance on the other side will have an advantage. It’ll be an interesting contradiction of styles much like a half court basketball team versus a full court press type of team. Each team will be trying to impose its style of play with the one with the most success ultimately walking away with a probable mark in the win column.
The headliners for those two contrasting styles will be Central Michigan’s QB Ryan Radcliff on one side trying to pick apart the secondary. By contrast, Eastern Michigan will utilize its yards-on-the-ground by committee approach of RBs Javonti Green and Dominique White, to go with the scrambling ability of QB Alex Gillett. Who will blink first?
What Will Happen: Both teams will come out with their game plan intent on winning its own way. Unfortunately for Eastern Michigan, even its way of trying to eat up yards on the ground doesn’t often result in points. Look for this game to be a bit like a slow burning novel that will build towards some excitement at the end. There will be a lot of clock eating by EMU, and a lot of quick, short passes to almost the same effect by CMU. When the game ends though, the Chippewas will have been able to have a little more success through the air at home than the Eagles will have had running the ball on the road. Central Michigan will hold off their MAC East brother in a close, lower scoring game.
CFN Prediction: Central Michigan 24 … Eastern Michigan 13
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Central Michigan -13.5 O/U: 53
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