With the game well out of reach Saturday late in the fourth quarter of a 45-17 defeat by Michigan, Eastern Michigan fifth-year senior quarterback Andy Schmitt wasn’t able to finish after an apparent right leg injury.
Schmitt’s knee buckled, he collapsed after receiving a snap when he tried to plant his leg. He didn’t appear to be hit by anyone, just fell awkwardly and dropped the ball that was recovered by U-M. He was helped off the field by two members of the team’s staff.
EMU coach Ron English refused to comment on Schmitt’s injury, including its severity, in a postgame news conference.
“I can’t speculate on that,” he said.
Freshman Alex Gillett replaced Schmitt and was 2-of-4 passing and had 40 rushing yards. Before leaving, Schmitt was 13-of-22 passing for 97 yards and an interception, and he had an 11-yard touchdown run.
Schmitt missed some playing time last season because of a nagging shoulder injury, and he was backed up by junior Kyle McMahon. Schmitt threw for 2,644 yards and 15 touchdowns in 11 games last season.
At his Monday teleconference, English didn’t have many details on Schmitt’s injury.
“We’re waiting to see this morning where Andy is and what the issues are,” English said. “I’ll find out sometime this afternoon, I think.”
EMU (0-3) will have its only bye this upcoming week. It will play against Temple at 1 p.m. on Oct. 3 at Rynearson Stadium. The game will be homecoming and the first against a Mid-American Conference opponent.
“It’s going to be exciting, and we’re going to be fired up that day,” English said. “We’ve got to get a win.”
Run defense is suspect
For the second time in its first three games, EMU allowed its opponent to rush for more than 300 yards.
U-M had 380 rushing yards Saturday, and Army had 300 in the opener Sept. 5 – both teams utilize different forms of the option offense. Northwestern had 185 rushing yards Sept. 12.
EMU is last in the MAC in rush defense, and its 288 yards allowed per game are 69 more than second-to-worst Toledo. Mainly because EMU’s opponents haven’t tried to pass, because they haven’t needed to, it’s best in the conference in that defensive category (78 yards).
Priest shines in new offense
Dwayne Priest had his second consecutive good game Saturday. He rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown on a workman-like 27 carries. He leads the MAC with 63 rushes.
Priest is second in the conference with 301 rushing yards to Northern Illinois’ Me’co Brown (331). EMU’s new pro-style offense has featured the tailback more, and Priest is the direct beneficiary of the change from last season’s spread.
“It’s all about my line,” he said. “If they come out and play good, I play good.”