Former Eastern Michigan stars, T.J. Lang and Charlie Batch, will take part in the NFL’s biggest game of the year, Super Bowl XLV.
This year’s Super Bowl will showcase the AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers, against the NFC champion Green Bay Packers. The game will be played in Jerry Jones’s multibillion dollar Cowboy Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 6, in Dallas, Texas.
Lang (offensive line) will be suiting up with the Packers.
Lang and the Packer’s offensive line proved themselves worthy by defeating the Eagles in the Wildcard game, the Falcons in the Division game, and beating long-time rivals the Bears, in the NFC championship game to earn a trip to the Super Bowl.
The Packers were an early season favorite for contending for a championship, but questions loomed over their running game and their offensive line early in the season. However, in the playoffs, the Packers running game has come to life due to an improved offensive line and breakout RB James Starks, who has 263 yards rushing in three playoff games. Starks, also a former MAC player from Buffalo, recorded the first touchdown of his career against the Jets in the clinching AFC championship game.
At EMU, Lang was originally recruited as a defensive lineman, but made the switch to offensive lineman by his freshman year. As a senior for the Eagles he started all 12 games and posted 11 blocks leading to a touchdown. With Lang protecting the blind side, the Eagles ranked 20th in the nation, averaging 269.33 yards a game.
Charlie Batch (quarterback) will be suiting up with the Steelers. Batch has been with the Steelers since 2002, after being declared a bust by the Detroit Lions. Batch is listed as the third-string quarterback for the Steelers, but saw starting action early in the season, thanks to starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s four-game suspension, and injuries to back-ups Dennis Dixon and Byron Leftwich (Marshall, formally of the MAC).
Batch owns almost every passing record at EMU.
The Mid-American Conference will be represented by 15 former players in the big game. The Packers have nine; the Steelers have six.
Central Michigan University has the most former players in the championship game within the MAC with four, including defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, defensive back Josh Gordy, and linebacker Frank Zombo of the Packers, and rookie wide receiver Antonio Brown of the Steelers.
Miami of Ohio has two formers players in the big game as well, including Roethlisberger of the Steelers and tight end Tom Crabtree of the Packers.
WR Greg Jennings for the Packers also used to play in the MAC with Western Michigan
Each player, along with their team, had their own journey in reaching the NFL’s most covenant game of the year. The Packers were a question to even make the playoffs this season after a rough start but snuck in on a wildcard berth with record of 10-6.
The Steelers’ playmaking SS Troy Polamalu missed all of the playoffs last year due to an Achilles injury that kept him out of the beginning of this season. His return to the ways of old was questionable coming into the season as well. Polamalu and the humbled Roethlisberger redeemed themselves and silenced critics by defeating the Ravens in the Division game and the Jets in the AFC championship game to earn a trip to the Super Bowl.
The championship game is slated to start at 6 p.m. on Fox.