college football picks Eastern Michigan at Miami-Ohio 9-11-10

September 10, 2010

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FACTS & STATS: Site: Yager Stadium (24,286) — Oxford, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: EMU 0-1, Miami-OH 0-0. Away Record: EMU 0-0, Miami-OH 0-1. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, Miami-OH 0-0. Conference Record: EMU 0-0, Miami-OH 0-0. Series Record: Miami-Ohio leads, 16-4.

GAME NOTES: Ron English took over at Eastern Michigan at the beginning of last season, but he comes into this Saturday’s matchup against Miami-Ohio still in search of his first victory.

It has been a rough start to English’s tenure at EMU, as the coach has lost 13 straight games since coming to Ypsilanti. The most recent setback came in this year’s opener against Army, as EMU suffered a heart-breaking, 31-27 loss.

The RedHawks faced a much tougher opponent in their opener, as they took on the Florida Gators in Gainesville. Miami-Ohio suffered a 34-12 setback, but Mike Haywood’s gang fought the new look Gators to the final whistle, giving this team hope for the rest of the season.

The RedHawks have won 16 of the previous 20 matchups against Eastern Michigan, and that includes the team’s 0recent six-game winning streak in the all-time series. The last time these two schools collided was back in 2005 when the RedHawks defeated EMU, 24-23.

Since the start of 2009 the Eagles have experienced their share of setbacks, and while the season-opening loss to Army is a tough one for coach English to swallo there were some positives he was able to take away from the loss.

Even though the Eagles fell to Army by four points, the offense, in particular, the ground attack did an excellent job. Eastern Michigan racked up 285 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, and was paced by Dwayne Priest, who rushed for 142 yards, while finding the end zone twice.

Quarterback Alex Gillett contributed 126 rushing yards and one score of his own on the ground, but unfortunately did not get the job done with his arm. Gillett did throw a touchdown in the loss, but finished with just 31 yards passing, and one interception.

Priest and Gillett led the way for EMU on the ground in 2009, but if this year’s squad is going to snap this losing skid, Gillett will have to improve drastically in terms of his passing.

Last year the Eagles possessed one of the worst run defenses in the nation, and even though this is a new year, it looks like it will be more of the same in 2010.

Sure, the Eagles were pitted against Army, which showcases the triple option, but even with that said, the Eagles still surrendered 309 yards on 5.6 yards per carry.

The defense allowed four rushing touchdowns in the contest, one of which was the game winning score in the final minute of play. Eastern Michigan did force a turnover in the setback, but also allowed Army to convert on 9-of-14 third down chances and four of five red zone attempts.

Another bright spot in the loss was the play of Tim Fort, who finished with 15 tackles and a forced fumble. Neal Howey added 14 stops, while Latarrius Thomas tallied 12.

The RedHawks could only post four field goals in their season opening matchup, but in their defense, coach Haywood’s squad did battle the Florida Gators in Gainesville.

The rushing attack for Miami-Ohio did nothing against the Gators’ stout front line, posting just four yards on the day. Starting running back Thomas Merriweather did not help matters, as the senior tailback was ejected from the game for throwing a punch, leaving the rushing to freshman Tracy Woods.

Quarterback Zac Dysert had an inauspicious afternoon against one of the top defenses in the country. The signal caller managed to throw for 191 yards, but also tossed four interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown that opened the scoring for Florida.

Armand Robinson was the clear target for Dysert, as the wideout hauled in 11 passes for 111 yards. Even though Dysert had some issues in this contest, he still showed plenty of promise and the relationship with Robinson should only blossom as the season moves forward.

It wasn’t a surprise that the RedHawks were unable to move the ball against Florida’s defense, but it was extremely surprising on the other hand to see coach Haywood’s defense cause so much trouble for what is usually a very dangerous offense.

Sure, Tim Tebow is no longer at Florida, but the RedHawks showed tremendous speed and made big play, after big play. Miami-Ohio held Florida to just 3- of-12 on third downs, and also limited Urban Meyer’s men to just 3-of-5 on fourth down.

Clearly the Gators were not at their best, but that does not take away from the fact that the RedHawks recovered three fumbles, held Florida to just 12 first downs and only 212 total yards. Haywood’s defense even shut down Florida’s ground attack, holding the Gators to just 99 yards on 3.2 yards per attempt.

Eastern Michigan showed some fight in its opener, but so did the RedHawks. The only difference is that Miami-Ohio showed its toughness on the road against one of the nation’s best, while the Eagles lost at home to Army. At some point this season coach English will get his first victory, but it will not come this Saturday.


FREE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICKS : Miami-Ohio 29, Eastern Michigan 16

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