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Better Know: Eastern Michigan

Better Know Logo 200I remember in years past that an Eastern Michigan game, more often than not, was one of the penciled in Ws on the schedule when the MAC released the conference slate for the coming football season. I know the platitudes and such about “Any given Saturday” and the whole respect your conference opponent thing, but I think it’s safe to say from an objective point of view that as the MAC has progressed from midweek novelty to significant BCS busting power that has the P5 conferences on perpetual upset alert that one boat was left behind by the rising tide: the EMU Eagles.

The good news for EMU is that it appears their boat is finally on the upswing, as new coach Chris Creighton is pulling out the stops to make EMU competitive, marketable, and noteworthy for something other than being the team you try to schedule for homecoming. If he can’t do it, I question whether anyone can, and frankly, the systemic and institutional roadblocks at EMU make even the hurdles at Ball State seem manageable.

On Saturday, it’s Senior Day at the Scheu and there’s a chance for BSU to gain a small bit of momentum before closing the season on Black Friday at Bowling Green. It will be an emotional afternoon as most home finales are, but for the 2014 campaign, I say good riddance and bring on 2015. Before we close the book, though, there’s still 120 minutes of football to play this season and it’s time to Better Know the Eastern Michigan Eagles.

Team: Eastern Michigan Eagles
Record: 2-8 (1-5)
Ranking: Unranked
Head Coach: Chris Creighton
Series: Ball State leads 32-21-2
Last Meeting: Ball State defeated EMU 51-20 in Ypsilanti in 2013

Eastern Michigan Head Coach Chris Creighton…
… is in his first season as the Eagles’ head coach, after a successful stint at Drake University where he departed with the highest win percentage in program history.
… is not a stranger to the Hoosier State, having spent seven seasons as the head coach at Wabash College. He also served four years as the offensive coordinator at Manchester College.
… has a career record of 141-53, and if you take away the 2-8 this season for EMU it’s even more impressive.

When it comes to EMU versus the Cardinals…
… this contest will be the 56th meeting between the teams.
… Ball State holds a three game win streak over the Eagles, but their last win against Ball State did come in Scheumann Stadium, an overtime win in 2010.
… that 21-point EMU comeback in the 2010 win was the largest comeback in EMU school history.

The Eastern Michigan Eagles…
… have landed senior tight end Tyreese Russell on the midseason Mackey Award Watchlist for the nation’s top tight end. He leads the Eagles in receiving with 29 catches for 393 yards.
… have a gamechanger on defense, with tackle Pat O’Connor leading the MAC in sacks and ranking 2nd in the conference in tackles for loss.
… put the special in special teams, blocking six kicks so far this season, 5 of them kicks, one of them punts.

Saturday. 2pm. Senior Day. Is there any more reason needed than that?!

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