The Eastern Michigan University football team has given up 1,543 yards in the first three games of their 2012 campaign. EMU has given up 937 of those yards on the ground. It is tough to win a
football game at any level with that lack of production from the defense, and the team’s 0-3 record shows it.
The task for the Eagles gets even tougher on Saturday when they travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State University.
Although MSU suffered a bad defeat to Notre Dame last week, they are still one of the toughest teams in the nation and it all starts with their running game.
The Eagles defense, first and foremost, must find a way to stop Spartan running back Le’Veon Bell, because he is the key to the Spartan’s offense. Bell is averaging 27 carries a game with 4.4 yards per rushing attempt.
Bell is also a runner that will not be easily brought down, so the defense will need to stay disciplined with their run fits and form tackling, along with getting as many defenders to tackle him at the same time in order to stop him.
The emphasis on defense is to stop the run, but EMU should not count out the passing game. MSU’s quarterback, Andrew Maxwell, has struggled for the most part in his first three starts, but he has still led the Spartan offense to be ranked 49th in the country in passing yards. It is easier, however, to pass when the running game is as effective as it is, so the keys are to stop the run first and make it difficult for Maxwell to throw the ball.
The offense has as tough of a task as the defense does as MSU boasts one of the nation’s top defenses. It will be key for the offense to not try to do so much, such as throwing the football 20 to 30 times. The key is for the offense to not stray away from its strength, which is running the football. This gives the offense a chance to wear down the defense and allow big plays in both the running game and passing game. The rushing attack will need to be effective as well, gaining at least four yards a carry to be successful.
Some have already counted EMU out and say there is no way they can beat MSU. However, if they keep the tempo of the game in their hands by stopping the run game of MSU and having an effective run game of their own, there is a very good chance that EMU will win.
The game will take place Sept. 22 at 3:30 p.m. at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.