EMU football preps for Illinois

Penn State's Gerald Hodges, right, takes down Eastern Michigan's Alex Gillett during game action at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania, Saturday, September 24, 2011. Penn State defeated Eastern Michigan, 34-6. (Christopher Weddle/Centre Daily Times/MCT)

After losing to Ball State in their season opener, the Eastern Michigan University football team is looking to snag a victory in their first home game of the season against Illinois State University Sept. 8.

In order to beat the Redbirds, EMU will have to step up their defense. In their last game against BSU, the Eagles were shut out in two periods and BSU was able to take a considerable lead. The Cardinals were doing a great job running the ball and the Eagles just couldn’t stop it.

When taking on ISU, the Eagles must defend their running game and their passing game in order to have a chance at winning.

EMU should look to defenders Justin Cudworth, Marlon Pollard, Blake Poole and Marcell Rose to stop ISU in their tracks. The Eagles’ total defense ranked third in the Mid-American Conference last year, so the team cannot let any type of offense slip through their hands.

The Redbirds excel at their passing game: Quarterback Matt Brown completed his first five passes during their season opener against Dayton, completed 19 out of his 30 passes and set the ISU all-time completion record. The Eagles can count on the Redbirds to start the game passing.

The Eagles will also have to look at quarterback Alex Gillett to lead the way. Gillett was able to throw three touchdown passes against BSU and to connect 15 out of 34 passes. Against the Redbirds, Gillett may have to step up his passing game because ISU has a strong defense.

Evan Frierson, Mike Zimmer, Colton Underwood and Will Davis are ISU’s biggest defense threats they will be using against the Eagles. EMU will need to step up their offensive game to break through.

The Eagles’ other advantage is that they will be on their home turf. Because it is their first home game, hopefully fans will be filling the stands, which will help pump up the players.

As they look to win their first home game and create a 1-1 record, the Eagles will have to step up their game. ISU crushed their first opponent with a score of 56-14.

Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Rynearson Stadium.

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