Welcome to the culmination of the Season of Misery. It appropriately ends with a game against one of the very worst teams in FBS. Don't take solace, because Akron fits that description, too.
Eastern Michigan and Akron are similar in a few ways. First, both teams are loaded with freshmen. Only nine seniors hold a position on EMU's first or second string. Similarly, Akron has 11 seniors on the two-deep.
Second, both teams have cycled through three quarterbacks. EMU's offense had hope under Andy Schmitt, who kept the team competitive against Army and Northwestern. Schmitt suffered a season-ending knee injury in the third game. Sophomore Kyle McMahon got three starts before eventually surrendering the job to true freshman Alex Gillett.
Third, both teams are floundering statistically and in the win column. Akron and EMU have combined for one win against an FBS opponent all year. Yep, this is a big-time pillow fight.
What motivates EMU is avoiding a winless season. What motivates Akron is, uh, playing before mostly friends and family at a brand-new stadium.
Eastern Michigan does boast the MAC's most stingy pass defense -- statistically. The reason is this: Nobody passes against EMU because the Eagles are SO bad against the run. They give up 284.5 rushing yards per game, which is worst in the nation and almost 90 yards per game worse than anyone else in the MAC.
Although Akron's running game has suffered this season, you can bet that whoever takes the handoffs will put up a career game.
On offense, the Eagles have a dependable back in Dwayne Priest. The true freshman quarterback, Gillett, has done well considering the lack of talent around him and his own lack of experience. Lately, Gillett has run the ball more often than he hands it off.
Here is Tom Gaffney's preview.
The Zips are 16-point favorites. The over-under is 50.
Here is what I wrote about the game on July 23, when 88 percent of readers voted that Akron would win.
The Ann Arbor newspaper talks about how bad EMU coach Ron English believes the season has gone: "It's amazing - it's almost like you to try and lose this many games - it's hard to lose this many games and so you put the focus on something else."
It's going to be a feel-good win to finish the season. If it's not, eek. EMU can't stop Gumby from running for 150 yards. It will be a good opportunity for Broderick Alexander and DeVoe Torrence to gain momentum heading into next season.
Akron 31, EMU 9