Five things to take away from EMU’s 45-7 loss against Penn State
1) Defense/Special Teams:
Sometimes, the best offense is your defense and in this case for EMU it was, as their only points of the game came from sophomore linebacker Hunter Matt’s ten-yard fumble off Penn State freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg’s attempted pass which slipped out of his hand before returning it to the end-zone.
After Matt’s touchdown put the Eagles up 7-0, they would not score again as the Nittany Lions rolled off 45 unanswered points en route to victory.
A bright spot was freshman punter Austin Barnes’ 11 punts for 461 yards and averaging 41.9 yards per punt. His longest punt was 52 yards, but it is never a good sign when your punter has to go out on the field after a failed drive 11 times in a game.
There were two missed field goal opportunities— redshirt sophomore backup quarterback/holder Mark Iannotti’s fumbled snap on sophomore place-kicker Dylan Mulder’s 45-yard attempt that was never attempted and as a result turned the ball over on downs and Mulder’s missed 42-yard attempt in the early stages of the second quarter, which did not help EMU’s cause on this Saturday afternoon.
The loss of senior linebacker Sean Kurtz due to injury turned out to haunt the Eagles defense as they ran out of energy in the fourth quarter and the Nittany Lions imposed their will through the arm of Hackenberg, the legs of junior running back Bill Belton and the speed of junior wide receiver Allen Robinson.
2) Tyreese Russell’s Coming Out Party:
Junior tight end Tyreese Russell was Benz’s most reliable target as he caught eight passes for 73 yards, both career highs.
He also led the team in the receiving category for most yards gained with freshman tight end Duwhan Alford with the second most receptions with three to go along with 16 yards.
This does not look good if these are your top receivers in terms of most yards and it has to change if the Eagles are expecting to have a winning season.
3) Total Yards:
What a huge discrepancy as the Nittany Lions racked up 574 total yards on offense compared to 183 by the Eagles.
Penn State was able to change up the tempo at the snap of a finger as they used a combination of up-tempo and run-first styles to slow EMU’s defense down.
It will take more than 183 total yards for the Eagles to be competitive as the season progresses.
4) EMU Quarterbacks:
Redshirt junior Tyler Benz appears to becoming more of a game manager as he completed 17-of-26 passes for 115 yards with his longest throw being an 18-yard pass to Russell.
There were few attempts by Benz throwing the deep ball as it appeared offensive coordinator Stan Parrish focused a lot on passes to the flat play action throws.
However, Benz was not immune to the lack of protection the offensive line gave him as he was sacked three times.
With the game well in hand late in the fourth quarter, highly touted freshman Brogan Roback entered the game and his first collegiate pass was a seven-yard reception to senior wide receiver Donald Scott.
5) 0-48 All-Time Against Bowl Championship Series Schools:*
You would have thought at some point, the Eagles would have pulled an upset over one of the top tier schools, but it has been the opposite as they are now 0-48 all-time against BCS conference schools.
However, EMU has one more chance in the regular season to break the drought as they will travel to Piscataway, NJ to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights next Saturday at 1 p.m.
Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @EasternEchoGeno.