Notebook: Eastern Michigan football struggling

Dwayne Priest (22) runs Saturday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. He had 21 rushing yards in EMU’s loss.

MOUNT PLEASANT – After a 56-8 loss to Central Michigan on Saturday, Eastern Michigan is 0-5 (0-2 Mid-American Conference).

“I think what they learned (Saturday) is you have to make plays, and you have to execute in all phases,” EMU coach Ron English said. “We did not do that well enough to win.”

So are things as bad as they seem in English’s first season? Here are some facts about EMU’s football team:

— It has never led in any game so far this season and has been outscored 51-3 in first quarters.

— It allows 36 points per game, and its rush defense (1,310 total yards) is second worst in the FBS.

— The only team with a worse record in the MAC West is Ball State (0-6, 0-2). The teams meet Oct. 24 at Rynearson Stadium.

MAC West Scores
Northwestern 16, Miami (Ohio) 6
Central Michigan 56, Eastern Michigan 8
Bowling Green 36, Kent State 35
Buffalo 40, Gardner-Webb 3
Ohio 19, Akron 7
Western Michigan 58, Toledo 26

— Starting quarterback Andy Schmitt and defensive back Ryan Downard have season-ending injuries.

The final scores are all that really matter, though. And following the most recent loss, what can English, his staff and team do to right the ship at this point in the season?

“We’ll just keep coaching hard,” English said. “The players will keep playing hard, and we’ll continue to try to improve.”

Welch, Gillet get opportunity
Underclassmen Corey Welch and Alex Gillett, who were backups to start the season, received extended playing time in the lopsided game.

“We wanted Gillett to get out there and get a chance to get some reps, do some things,” English said. “Corey, I thought he ran hard, but he runs hard, for the most part, all the time.

“It was good to see a bunch of those young guys get some snaps.”

Welch, a sophomore tailback, had 12 carries for 81 yards and Eastern’s lone touchdown, which came when it trailed 49-0.

Gillett, a freshman quarterback, was 9-of-18 passing for 51 yards and had nine carries for 38 yards. He replaced Kyle McMahon, who started and went 8-of-14 passing for 76 yards.

English says CMU is top 25
English had high praise for CMU after the game.

“The reality is (CMU) is a top 25 football team,” he said. “I mean, that is a legitimate team.”

Central received six votes, not enough to be nationally ranked, in the Associated Press poll Sunday.

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