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2018

Eastern Michigan

College Football

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Eastern Michigan won three of its final four games last year, yet it still wasn’t enough for a bowl as it finished 5-7 with six losses by seven points or less. The Eagles return talent on both sides of the ball, which should help in their quest for a bowl, but an unknown at quarterback could be a problem. Their odds have them on the border with an over/under of 5.5 wins (heavy on the over) with +1400 odds to win the MAC, as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Eastern’s competition at quarterback is between sophomore Isaac Stiebeling and Iowa grad transfer Tyler Wiegers. Neither won the position in the spring and both present a different style with Stiebeling more mobile and Wiegers a better passer. Either way, the running game should be better than last year’s 3.7 yards per carry. Not only does the entire line return with four seniors, but also stud running backs Ian Eriksen (805 yards, 8 TDs) and Shaq Vann (520 yards, 3 TDs). Those two could be even more involved than a year ago and it’s logical to think their numbers will be better. That said, the passing game probably won’t be as good, not only with a new quarterback, but also new receivers in Mathew Sexton (26 receptions), Isaac Holder and Line Latu. 

Defense should again be the strong suit for the Eagles with seven starters returning from a group that allowed 23.3 points per game. Maxx Crosby is a future NFL player at end after 11 sacks last year and Jeremiah Harris isn’t far behind on the other side with six sacks. Those two lead the line, but two new linebackers are set to start in the 4-2-5 scheme, which could lead to some issues early even if they are seniors. A secondary that returns every starter including all-conference performers Vince Calhoun and Brody Hoying should keep this group as one of the best in the conference. With a stout line and secondary, the Eagles should stay competitive in every game, similar to last year.

After Monmouth, Eastern Michigan has a difficult task of back-to-back-to-back road trips in the middle of September, all against legitimate competition. To make a bowl, the Eagles will need to upset one of the better teams in the conference with home games against NIU, Toledo and Akron being the best chances. Most of the weaker opponents they face come on the road, which isn’t usually what you want. If EMU can figure out quarterback, the opportunity for six wins will be there through a solid running game and defense, but it can’t afford to lose every close game again. The Eagles either have to beat better teams at home or win games on the road, which should be possible with a solid defense.  

 

2018 Eastern Michigan Eagles Football Schedule

Aug. 31 vs. Monmouth

Sept. 8 at Purdue

Sept. 15 at Buffalo

Sept. 22 at San Diego State

Sept. 29 vs. Northern Illinois

Oct. 6 at Western Michigan

Oct. 13 vs. Toledo

Oct. 20 at Ball State 

Oct. 27 vs. Army

Nov. 3 vs. Central Michigan

Nov. 10 vs. Akron

Nov. 23 at Kent State

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