That Chris Creighton has not been snatched up by now is very surprising to me.
EMU is maybe one of the most structurally challenged college athletic departments in division one and yet, since 2016 EMU has been to four Bowl games and is nearly 500. They’ve really only had one truly bad season (2020) and it’s not been built on the back of some rare recruiting find but a culture of hard work and a well coached team.
Perhaps, to EMU’s benefit, getting to the top of the MAC West is rather difficult for the program. Else he’d be gone by now. As it is he accounts for four of the school's six all-time Bowl appearances.
Last year three of their four MAC defeats were within one score or less. Including razor-thin margins to eventual MAC champion NIU.
On offense, a lot of the team is back but unfortunately for EMU most of their experience behind center left for other opportunities. The portal and transfers were not kind to EMU quarterbacks coach Mike Piatkowski.
The line is solid, and the receivers are solid, but who’s running the offense is up in the air. EMU is going to have to settle on Austin Smith, Cam’Ron McCoy (Cincinnatti transfer), or Taylor Powell who played for Troy and Missouri.
Speaking of Running Darius Boone is going to have to try and get their running game going. Last year the Eagles only managed 1,500 yards as a team.
Buffalo’s defense should be able to contain the EMU offense, perhaps not shut them down given the inexperience of our secondary but the front seven should be able to limit the run and apply pressure on the quarterback.
EMU’s front seven really struggled last year, particularly on third down where the Eagles lacked even a single tackle for loss. The unit is led by Tariq Spikes who plays in the middle of EMU’s 4-2-5 defense.
Their secondary reminds me a lot of UB’s secondary. Not a lot of big plays, inexperienced, but not beyond hope.
This game looks to be a coin flip at this point. To my eye it’s going to fall on two questions...
- Which secondary comes together better?
Neither team's secondary was full of highlights last year and lost a lot of players. Both have some solid players in the front seven but if the secondary is sievelike then it’s a tall order to control the game.
- Which team QB takes the reins better?
EMU has a better, at least a deeper, receiving core than Buffalo and they have a more experienced line. So the Eagles have the offensive advantage, but it’s going to hing on the quarterback.