college football picks Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan 9-18-10

September 18, 2010


DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 18th, 4:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Rynearson Stadium (30,200) — Ypsilanti, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: CMU 1-0, EMU 0-1. Away Record: CMU 0-1, EMU 0-1. Neutral Record: CMU 0-0, EMU 0-0. Conference Record: CMU 0-1, EMU 0-1. Series Record: Central Michigan, 54-27-6.

GAME NOTES: The fans in Ypsilanti will be cheering hard Saturday afternoon, as their Eastern Michigan Eagles look to snap a 14-game slide when they take the field at Rynearson Stadium against reigning Mid-American Conference champion Central Michigan Chippewas.

Oddly enough, the last time EMU tasted victory was against the Chippewas in 2008, as the Eagles defeated their in-state rival, 56-52. Despite that victory, the Chippewas still hold a comfortable, 54-27-6 edge over Eastern Michigan in the all-time series, and that includes a 56-8 decision last year.

The Dan Enos era kicked off on the right foot, as the Chippewas opened the year with a 33-0 victory over Hampton. However, coach Enos’s first league affair did not go as smoothly, as his Chippewas were defeated by Temple, 13-10, in overtime.

As mentioned earlier, the last time Eastern Michigan claimed a victory was in 2008, so even though this is only Ron English’s second year in Ypsilanti, the pressure is on the coach to produce wins. So far in 2010 coach English has not been able to lead his team to victory, but they have been close, falling to Army by a four-point margin in the opener, while following that setback with a 28-21 loss to Miami-Ohio.

After having his way with Hampton in the opener, quarterback Ryan Radcliff hit his first bump in the road as the starting signal caller this past week against Temple.

Sure, Radcliff completed 25-of-35 passes for 299 yards, which is very impressive, but Dan LeFevour’s replacement also tossed two interceptions, including a critical one in overtime.

The lack of support from the ground game likely made it much harder on Radcliff, as the Chippewas finished with just 43 yards on 1.3 yards per attempt. Paris Cotton, who rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown in the opener, was limited to just 40 yards on 16 carries against Temple. Despite the poor showing, the tailback still managed to find the end zone once.

The Chippewas suffered their first loss of the season to Temple, but the finger should not be pointed at this defense. Coming off a shutout performance against Hampton, the defensive unit for coach Enos, put forth another tenacious effort against the Owls, holding their league foe to just 13 points.

Temple’s dangerous ground attack of Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown, was limited to just 114 yards on 3.2 yards per attempt. The Chippewas also caused problems for the quarterback, as Chester Stewart was incapable of finding a rhythm against this relentless unit. By the final whistle the Chippewas had forced two turnovers, and sacked Stewart four times.

One of those sacks came from Matt Berning, who finished with three TFLs, one forced fumble and 11 tackles.

The Eagles relied heavily on the run in their season-opener against Army, rushing for 285 yards, while almost walking away with a victory. However, this past weekend against Miami-Ohio, the ground game for coach English’s Eagles was nowhere to be found.

EMU was bottled up by the RedHawks, churning out just 66 yards on 32 totes. Dwayne Priest, who destroyed the Black Knights for 142 yards and two scores, finished with just eight yards against Miami-Ohio.

Quarterback Alex Gillett led the Eagles with 37 yards, and now has a team best 163 yards in two contests. However, the signal caller was inconsistent with his arm, and even though he threw for 171 yards and two scores, he was also intercepted twice, and both picks came in the second half.

Their inability to stop the run in 2009 was a glaring issue, and early in the new season the Eagles have the same problem. After being gashed for 309 rushing yards against Army, the frontline for EMU was devastated by Miami- Ohio’s ground game, as the RedHawks punished the Eagles for 181 yards and three touchdowns.

Eastern Michigan surrendered 23 first downs in the loss this past weekend, but surprisingly held Miami-Ohio to just 3-of-8 on third down attempts. Marcell Rose and Tim Fort both tallied nine tackles apiece in the loss, and now Fort has a team-best 24 stops.

The Eagles should eventually snap their losing skid, but that is unlikely to happen this weekend. The Chippewas are coming off a tough loss and will take out their frustrations on a weak Eastern Michigan squad. Look for Radcliff to have a better showing, but more importantly expect Cotton to have his best showing to date.

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