CFN Take: EMU Blasted By Ball State
Eastern Michigan Eagles 2014 ...
Head Coach: Chris Creighton
Nov. 22 at Bal State 45, Eastern Michigan 30
Aug. 30 Morgan State W 31-28
Sep. 6 at Florida
Sep. 13 at Old Dominion L 17-3
Sep. 20 at Michigan St L 73-15
Sep. 27 OPEN DATE
Oct. 4 at Akron L 31-6
Oct. 11 Buffalo W 37-27
Oct. 18 at UMass L 36-14
Oct. 25 Northern Illinois L 28-17
Nov. 1 Central Michigan L 38-7
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 15 at Western Mich L 51-3
Nov. 22 at Ball State L 45-20
Nov. 28 Toledo
And You Care Because … Ball State got up 35-3 with Jack Miles throwing two touchdown passes and running for a three-yard score, and Jahwan Edwards running for a 29-yard touchdown. Tyreese Russell added a ten-yard touchdown catch – along with a brilliant one-handed grab – but that was one of the few highlights with three turnovers and too many key misfires. Just when the Eagles came up with a few good drives to make it somewhat interesting, Ball State took control again in the fourth on a 32-yard Scott Secor field goal and a five-yard Dylan Curry catch. Reginald Ball threw two late touchdown passes for the Eagles.
What Else? Ball State RB Jahwan Edwards ran 19 times for 131 yards and a score
- Eastern Michigan QB Reginald Ball completed 36-of-49 passes for 409 yards and three touchdowns, and ran 18 times for 101 yards
- Eastern Michigan WR Dustin Creel caught 14 passes for 152 yards
- Total yards: Eastern Michigan 503 – Ball State 440
Game Rating: C
Nov. 15 at Western Michigan 51, Eastern Michigan 7
And You Care Because … Western Michigan started out the game with Darius Phillips returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and the fun didn’t stop there for the Broncos with Corey Davis catching a 54-yard touchdown pass and Jarvion Franklin taking a pass 54 yards for a score on the way to a 27-0 first quarter. WMU scored the first 51 points of the game, with Zach Terrell throwing four touchdown passes and running for another. Eastern Michigan finally got on the board with Bronson Hill taking a pass 76 yards for a score.
What Else? Western Michigan QB Zach Terrell completed 17-of-19 passes for 357 yards and four touchdowns, and ran six times for 41 yards and a score
- Eastern Michigan QB Reginald Bell Jr. completed 14-of-22 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown with two picks, and ran 19 times for a team-leading 33 yards
- Third down conversions: Western Michigan 10-of-14 – Eastern Michigan 5-of-13
- Western Michigan WR Corey Davis caught four passes for 134 yards and a score
Game Rating: D-
Nov. 1 Central Michigan 38, at Eastern Michigan 7
And You Care Because … CMU dominated from the start with a 31-0 halftime lead starting out with first quarter touchdown runs from Saylor Lavallii, and Devon Spalding tearing off a 42-yard scoring dash in the second and adding a six yarder in the third. Eastern Michigan finally god on the board in the final minutes on a four-yard Darius Jackson touchdown run.
What Else? Total yards: Central Michigan 501 – Eastern Michigan 97
- Time of possession: Central Michigan 40:06 – Eastern Michigan 19:54
- Central Michigan RB Devon Spalding ran 18 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns, and Saylor Lavallii ran 24 times for 105 yards and two scores
- Eastern Michigan ran 29 times for 21 yards
Game Rating: D-
Oct. 25 Northern Illinois 28, at Eastern Michigan 17
And You Care Because … Down 17-14 in the fourth, NIU’s running game took over with Joel Bouagnon running for a 24-yard score and Cameron Stingily finally putting the game away on a one-yard touchdown run. The Huskies started out the scoring on a 78-yard Drew Hare touchdown run, and Stingily added a three-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but Eastern Michigan’s offense moved the ball with four-yard touchdown runs from Ryan Brumfield and Reginald Bell giving the team the lead. It was all NIU over the last 14 minutes.
What Else? Rushing yards: Northern Illinois 332 – Eastern Michigan 257
- Northern Illinois QB Drew Hare completed 8-of-14 passes for 44 yards, and ran 13 times for a team-high 166 yards and a touchdown
- Eastern Michigan QB Reginald Bell completed 16-of-34 passes for 124 yards and a pick, and ran 25 times for 133 yards and a touchdown
- Eastern Michigan RB Ryan Brumfeld ran 18 times for 112 yards and a score
Game Rating: B-
Oct. 18 at Massachusetts 36, Eastern Michigan 14
And You Care Because … Shadrach Abrokwah ran for scores from 17, 16, and two from four yards out as UMass relied on the ground game to put away EMU. The Minutemen scored 16 unanswered points and the defense did the rest after allowing Reginald Ball’s second touchdown pass of the game in the second quarter. EMU couldn’t slow down the UMass offensive balance.
What Else? UMass RB Shadrach Abrokwah ran 24 times for 135 yards and four touchdowns
- Eastern Michigan QB Reginald Bell completed 10-of-21 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns with an interception
- UMass QB Blake Frohnapfel completed 28-of-51 passes for 337 yards with an interception
- Penalties: Eastern Michigan 10 for 92 yards – UMass 9 for 55 yards
Game Rating: C-
Oct. 11 at Eastern Michigan 37, Buffalo 27
And You Care Because … Eastern Michigan got three touchdown runs from Reginald Bell and a touchdown pass on the way to a stunning win over Buffalo. Down 10-0, the Eagles got back in the game on a 71-yard Bell touchdown run, and took over for good on 23-yard scoring pass to David Gibson in the fourth. Joe Licata threw two of this three touchdown passes for the Bulls in the final five minutes, but Bell kept EMU well ahead with a 72-yard scoring dash.
What Else? Eastern Michigan QB Reginald Ball completed 8-of-13 passes for 144 yards and a score, and ran 17 times for 202 yards and three touchdowns
- Buffalo QB Joe Licata completed 27-of-44 passes for 383 yards and three touchdowns with two picks, and ran seven times for 17 yards
- Buffalo RB Anthone Taylor ran 24 times for 128 yards
- Total yards: Buffalo 537 – Eastern Michigan 484
Game Rating: B-
Oct. 4 at Akron 31, Eastern Michigan 6
And You Care Because … Eastern Michigan scored on its first drive on an 18-yard Tyler Allen catch, and it was all Akron the rest of the day with 31 unanswered points as Kyle Pohl threw two touchdown passes and ran for a five-yard score. Conor Hundley added a 28-yard touchdown run as the Zip offense rolled, and the defense stopped the Eagles with four turnovers.
What Else? Penalties: Akron 15 for 124 yards – Eastern Michigan 7 for 60 yards
- Total yards: Akron 552 – Eastern Michigan 279
Game Rating: D
Sept. 20 Michigan State 73, Eastern Michigan 15
And You Care Because … Michigan State scored touchdowns on their first five possessions, produced the third most points in school history and obliterated Eastern Michigan in every phase of the game. Spartan QB Connor Cook threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another before giving way to the backups, as Mark Dantonio was able to empty his bench earlier than usual.
What Else? The Spartans outgained the Eagles, 496-135, before essentially tapping the brakes and leaning on a more conservative plan of attack. At halftime, Michigan State held a 320-1 edge in total yardage.
- How tough is the uphill climb being faced by EMU coach Chris Creighton? His Eagles have now been outscored 155-17 through the first three games of his debut season.
- Michigan State RB Delton Williams, Jeremy Langford’s backup, ran well in the most extensive action of his career. He carried just 10 times, yet finished with 103 yards and three touchdowns.
- Eastern Michigan was just 1-of-13 on third-down conversions. QB Rob Bolden, formerly of Penn State and LSU, could only complete 10-of-29 passes for 115 yards, two meaningless touchdowns and an interception.
Game Rating: D
Sept. 13 at Old Dominion 17, Eastern Michigan 3
And You Care Because … Old Dominion’s defense held Eastern Michigan to just 215 yards of total offense and a lone 43-yard Dylan Mulder field goal in the fourth quarter, while the offense got all it needed in the first on a 55-yard Ray Lawry touchdown dash. Ricky Segers added a 26-yard field goal for the Monarchs, but it was Antonio Vaughan who put the game away on a 46-yard punt return for a score in the fourth. EMU was held to 12-of-24 passes for 72 yards.
Game Rating: C-
Sept. 6 at Florida 65, Eastern Michigan 0
And You Care Because … Florida got the game in to finally open up its season with a light scrimmage. The offense rolled up 655 yards with Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor taking off for long scores in the first quarter, short ones in the third, and Francisco Veles hitting three first half field goals. The backups kept the big plays going with Treon Harris finding Demarcus Robinson for a 70-yard touchdown and Mark Herndon for a 78-yard score in the fourth.
What Else? If it’s possible to still be a wee bit concerned after a dominant performance, Florida QB Jeff Driskel didn’t make too many things happen down the field. He dinked and dunked his way to 248 yards and a score completing 31-of-45 passes, but that’s nitpicking.
- Also, as always with Florida, the penalties were coming with ten on the game. Stalling and having to kick three field goals wasn’t a plus – again, nitpicking.
- The Gator D was humming, allowing just 45 yards of EMU passing and giving up nothing of significance. Florida came up with three sacks and nine tackles for loss – it was swarming.
- EMU’s Great Ibe and Ray Tillman each came up with 11 tackles, but there weren’t any truly big, stops.
Game Rating: D
Aug. 30 at Eastern Michigan 31, Morgan State 28
And You Care Because … Morgan State got three touchdown passes from Robert Counsel, but Eastern Michigan was able to keep up the pace with a Ryan Brumfield 14-yard touchdown run to tie it, and got a 42-yard Dylan Mulder field goal in the fourth quarter to come up with the win. New EMU starting quarterback Reginald Ball completed 11-of-16 passes, but they only went for 59 yards. Bronson Hill ran 19 times for 114 yards.
Game Rating: B
Chris Creighton might not have the toughest task of any coach in college football, but turning around Eastern Michigan and making it a player will take far more than just working hard and hoping for the right pieces to fall in place. Creighton is now messing with history.
Former head man Ron English appeared to have things on the right track, at least for a little while, and then it was the same old Eastern Michigan with no offense, not enough defense, and losses, losses, losses.
How bad has the program been? The Eagles have won just 12 games over the last five seasons and haven't seen a winning campaign since 1995. The last bowl game? A 30-27 win over San Jose State in your 1987 California Bowl.
Creighton's biggest task will be to change the attitude of a perennial loser. Of course that's what any new coach taking over a bad program needs to do - along with bringing more "energy" - and the only way that happens is with a little bit of success.
It's not going to be an easy fix. Creighton had almost no time to work on a recruiting class, and it's going to take a total infusion of talent to start to creating a program that can start challenging for the MAC title.
But what has been the problem? Yeah, yeah, yeah, the team needs to be better, the mindset needs to change, etc., but what does Creighton have to focus on right away?
His Eagles need an identity.
EMU had a few offensive surges over the years, and the D had a time or two when it wasn't awful, but last year the offense couldn't find anything that consistently worked, and the defesne got pounded on regularly. There were too many mistakes, the special teams were awful - nothing worked.
First and foremost, the offense has lean on a veteran line that might not be that bad as the season goes on, and then the hope has to be for a decent group of skill options to suddenly become sharper and more explosive. The team had no pop whatsoever, and it almost never had control in any game. Blink, and most games were over in the first quarter.
Step One is to simply be more competitive. All ten losses last year were double-digit blowouts, and only two of the last 20 defeats were close.
Creighton has never had a losing season in 17 years of coaching. He knows how to win, and now he has to teach Eastern Michigan how to do that.
What to look for on offense: Expect the coaching staff to adapt to the personnel and not the other way around. Offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer will incorporate a little bit of everything to see what works and what he has to go with. Early on, the line will be the key with four starters returning to try paving the way for a deceent backfield. Don't expect any fireworks from the passing game, but look for more chain moving and more sustained drives. Efficiency will be the buzzword after struggling so much to generate manageable third down situations. That should change early on.
What to look for on defense: Drake might have come up with a
disappointing 6-5 season under Creighton, but his defense was stellar. Great
against the run - allowing just 95 yards per game - his defenses attacked well
and kept the big plays to a minimum. Run defense was EMU's biggest issue
allowing a whopping 43 touchdowns on the ground and giving up over 200 yards in
every game but four. Generating pressure on the quarterback wasn't that big an
issue, but there were too many plays made down the field and too many early
drives that ended with seven. The linebacking corps should be decent, but the
line has to hold up better. With a slight tweaking, and the loss of top pass rusher Kalonji Kashama, there will be an adjustment period.
This team will be much better if… it starts winning the turnover margin. Creighton preached this offseason that everything has to be done "the right way," and that starts with being on the right side of the turnover battle. EMU has enough problems without giving the other team a few free chances. Last year the Eagles were -12 overall, failing to be on the plus side over the final ten games and coming up with just seven takeaways over the span. The D has to start putting the O in a better position.
The Schedule: Enjoy the Opening Day home game against Morgan State, because that's the last you'll see of the Eagles in Ypsilanti for a long, long time. The team goes on the road for four straight games - with a bye week thrown into the mix - until October 11th when Buffalo comes to town as part of a run of three home dates in four games. That's the only real positive break on the schedule with yet another abyss away from home - there isn't a home game between the end of October until the November 28th date with Toledo. Forget about the non-conference games against Florida and Michigan State on the road, but Old Dominion could be an interesting battle. Getting UMass and missing Bowling Green and Ohio from the East is a plus, but going on the road to start out the MAC schedule with Akron will be harder than it looks.
Best Offensive Player: Senior TE Tyreese Russell. The offense didn't show off nearly enough pop in the passing game and almost never stretched the field, and now it'll be up to Russell, along with receivers Dustin Creel and Jay Jones, to change that. Russell has the right frame and nice hands, and now he needs to be even ore of a featured target. Steady, he has the potential to occasionally be sensational.
Best Defensive Player: Junior LB Ike Spearman. The linebacking corps went through some growing pains last season, but with Sean Kurtz back in the middle, Great Ibe and Ike Spearman on the outside, and Hunter Matt to fill in where needed, there's good potential for the young group to come up with a big year and become one of the team's biggest strengths. Spearman is undersized, but he can move and he can hit. He's not going to get into the backfield all that often, but he'll be a double-digit tackling machine.
Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Brogan Roback. It would've been an interesting quarterback battle had Tyler Benz stayed around, but he left the team before the new coaching staff came on,
and now LSU transfer - and former Penn State recruit - Rob Bolden will be in the
mix. Roback took over the starting job midway through last season and did what
he could after being thrown to the wolves. Not a runner, he has to stretch the
field a bit more and utilize his decent receiving corps. If he's not great, and
if he doesn't get the downfield passing game moving, it'll be another long year
- if the job is actually his. Bolden, who was moved to receiver at LSU, is
coming in looking to see time right away under center.
The season will be a success if ... the Eagles win four games. That might not sound like a lofty goal, but the program has broken the three-win mark just once since 2007 and twice since 2005. A two win improvement would be a big step forward in Creighton's first season, and with winnable games against Morgan State, Akron, UMass and Western Michigan on the slate, with an upset here or there, a decent season is possible. However, realistically, the goal is to be better overall. This is a stepping-stone season - patience is a must for a program desperate for any success.
Key game: Oct. 4 vs. Akron. The Zips and Eagles are in different divisions and don't play every year, but EMU hasn't won in the series since 2002. Akron is quickly improving under Terry Bowden, but with a week off to prepare, if the Eagles are somehow able to pull off the road upset, with a rebuilding Buffalo at home and a trip to UMass to follow, there's a chance to go on a decent, momentum-building run with a good start.
2013 Fun Stats:
- Third Down Conversions: Opponents 64-of-135 (47.4%) - Eastern Michigan 55-of-162 (34%)
- Average Yards Per Pass: Opponents 9.7 - Eastern Michigan 6.4
- First Quarter Scoring: Opponents 181 - Eastern Michigan 55
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