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Looking ahead to Eastern Michigan

By mrasor Published: October 15, 2008

Eastern Michigan is similar to that bumble bee that appears 98 percent dead.
You can brush it off your car seat, but there's always that remote chance that the little stinker will bite you. Bowling Green suffered a sting to its MAC hopes two weeks ago.
For the most part, however, Eastern Michigan is a paralytic insect, suffering four blow-out losses and a letdown against Army. The only reason the Eagles' stats aren't so putrid is they beat D-IAA Indiana State 52-0. (413 rushing yards is a nice numerical elixir.)
So as we go into an analysis of Eastern Michigan, keep that grain of salt in your pocket. Anyhow, the Eagles are third in the MAC in rushing offense with 175.4 yards per game. Terrence Blevins is the leading rusher, but he hasn't done much since the slaughter on the Sycamores. Dwayne Priest has earned more of the playing time as the season progressed. He had a big game against Army, running for 118 yards.
EMU quarterback Andy Schmitt has been an inaccurate passer this season. The upside is that he's not passing to the other team either, throwing only two interceptions this season. His primary target is 6-foot Jacory Stone, who averages 62.1 yards per game but has only caught one touchdown pass. As a unit, EMU is 11th in the MAC in pass efficiency.
The Eagles' defense also used the Indiana State game as a stat padder. Regardless, EMU is fourth in the MAC in total defense. Giving up only 143.9 yards per game in the air, the Eagles are best in the MAC in pass defense. The rush defense, however, is 12th in the MAC. EMU gives up more than 200 rushing yards per game. (Only Akron is worse.)
Linebacker Daniel Holtzclaw has fulfilled predictions for All-MAC status, leading the Eagles in tackles (by a lot). Defensive back Ryan Downard has been an asset in pass protect, logging two pass breakups and two interceptions.
On special teams, EMU has putrid punting game with a net average of 29.6, which is worst in the MAC. The team's field goal kicking is more reliable. The punt and kick returners are among the MAC's least effective.

    The Zips are 3.5-point favorites.
    The ABJ's Tom Gaffney talked to J.D. Brookhart about the team's defensive fourth-quarter shortcomings. He also mentions the Ryan Bain situation.

Men's basketball
Gaffney also wrote about Keith Dambrot's expectations for the season.
The team begins practice Friday. I might show up and give you some observations.
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