The Eastern Michigan University football team goes into the Oct. 13 contest with the visiting Toledo Rockets still looking for their first win of the season.
In the 0-5 start for the Eagles, all five defeats have been by double-digit point margins including a 41-14 loss last weekend to Kent State University at the Homecoming game.
Toledo is 5-1 (3-0 Mid-American Conference) on the year as they come into Rynearson Stadium on a five game winning streak and are scoring an average of 33.8 points per game.
Needless to say, after EMU’s performance last weekend this will be a tough job for the winless team to come out victorious.
With Toledo’s high powered offense, along with EMU’s struggles with their own offense, the Eagles’ defense really needs to show up. They played solid in the first half of last week’s game but all of a sudden became absent in the second half.
If EMU has any hopes of winning this game, the defense must be able to stop Toledo and protect the struggling offense.
Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens must be pressured because he is a key to this offense. Owens has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 1,503 yards along with nine touchdowns and only one interception: leading the way for Toledo’s passing game to be ranked 40th in the nation.
The Rockets also have a powerful rushing attack to balance the passing game, led by running back David Fluellen.
Fluellen is the main rusher with 600 yards on 111 carries, so he as well must be stopped.
Did I mention EMU’s offense is struggling? Well, the unit is ranked second to last in points scored per game at 15.4, ranked third from last in passing with 141 yards per game and the strength of the team was supposed to be running the football but they have only reached a ranking of 104 with 121 yards per game.
So, not only does the defense need to perform well on Saturday, the offense must shake off their troubles if they are going to win a game this season.
EMU sophomore quarterback Tyler Benz has started in place of senior Alex Gillett the last two games and hasn’t performed much better yet. Benz has only completed 47.4 percent of his passes and that statistic must improve drastically if EMU is going to stick with him under center.
Along with the struggles of the signal callers, the offensive line must perform better as well. The line is giving up way too much penetration for the running game to get going.
Javonti Greene and Dominique Sherrer are the best weapons on the offense, but they have only gained a combined 295 yards on 78 carries. Doing the math, that is only a measly 3.8 yard per carry average and that is not a good average by any means. But since the running game is a strength, they must utilize it against Toledo.
Unless EMU gets better defensively for the entire game, as well as improved play at the quarterback position and offensive line, it will be difficult to win against Toledo.
The game will be Sat. Oct. 13 at Rynearson Stadium. Kick off is at 1 p.m.