After a tough loss to the Central Michigan University Chippewas, the Eastern Michigan University football team, 1-9 overall and 0-6 Mid-American Conference, will head over to Kalamazoo Nov. 17 to face their in-state rival the Western Michigan University Broncos, 4-7 overall and 2-5 MAC.
“I respected the way they played today. We don’t play well for long enough periods of time yet, but I respect how hard they played today,” EMU head coach Ron English said in the postgame press conference, recapping the CMU game.
After the 34-31 loss to CMU, the Eagles will look to beat at least one of their remaining in-state rivals for the season.
The winner of this game will hold the Michigan MAC football trophy, which the Eagles won last year after beating both the Chippewas and Broncos. WMU defeated CMU Nov. 3, which means EMU needs to at least beat WMU this season to keep the trophy for another year.
The players on the Broncos’ roster that everybody should watch for are quarterback Alex Carder, wide receiver Eric Monette and linebacker Desmond Bozeman.
Carder was out for a few games after he broke a finger on his throwing hand Sept. 22 against the University of Connecticut, missing the next six games. He was cleared last week and threw 19 for 37 for 275 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Monette has had a quiet season up until mid-October. In the last four games he’s had 31 catches for 489 yards and five touchdowns. He’s having a bigger season in four games than he’s had all last season.
Bozeman has started all 11 games this season, where he’s totaled 90 tackles, five and a half tackles for loss, four sacks, broken up three passes with one interception, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and blocked a field goal against the University of Toledo. Calling this senior a “playmaker” is almost an understatement.
Last week, we wondered what Alex Gillett could do with the ball, whether he takes the snap or catches a pass.
In the game against Central, Gillett threw 7 for 17 for 77 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while running the ball 14 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns. One of the rushing touchdowns came from a fake field goal that he ran in for 21 yards.
The passing game needs to step up this weekend. The Eagles have averaged only 124 yards through the air in their last three games and haven’t gone above 200 ever since their Oct. 20, 48-38 win over Army, where Tyler Benz threw for 369 yards.
We don’t really know who will be taking the majority of the snaps against Western between Gillett and Benz. After Benz completed seven out of his nine passes in the first half against CMU, Gillett filled in at quarterback for the second half of the game.
For as hard as this team competes week in and week out, these Eagles deserve to keep the Michigan MAC trophy in Ypsilanti for yet another year.