COLUMN: Can EMU stop Leonard Fournette?
The Eastern Michigan defense is going to have its hands full this weekend when the Eagles take a trip down to Louisiana State University to play the ninth ranked Louisiana State University Tigers and its stellar Heisman Trophy candidate running back, Leonard Fournette.
It has been no question that the Eastern Michigan defense has struggled mightily in stopping the rushing attack of just about every team the Eagles have played this season.
The EMU defense on average gives up 373.3-yards per game, which ranks last nationally in college football. A majority of opponent’s touchdowns have come on the ground against EMU, as 18 of the 21 touchdowns given up this season were rushing touchdowns, which also ranks last nationally.
But now comes the biggest test of them all. EMU will take on arguably the best running back in the country, Leonard Fournette.
Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton weighed in on Fournette at Monday's press conference.
“We have a scouting report and under Fournette's name it says really, really, really good,” he said.
Picture yourself driving down the highway, when suddenly a bug smashes against the windshield. The poor bug never had a chance. That is what experts have compared Leonard Fournette's running style to. He is the car that will not stop and defenders are the bugs that just bounce off.
Fournette has run for 631-yards on 73 attempts, eight touchdowns, and an average of 8.6-yards per carry. This ranks Fournette in the top 5 nationally of each of these categories.
Fournette stands at 6’1 230lbs., which is a little more than what the average EMU linebacker weighs in at.
Eastern Michigan will have to get used to taking a little contact trying to bring down Fournette. Fournette is a running back that wants to make contact with the defender before the defender makes contact with him.
When Fournette is in the open field, it might just take more than one defender to bring him down.
I would expect to see EMU changing things up and making every attempt to try and stop one of the best rushers in the game. This is obviously easier said than done, but I could see EMU stacking the defensive line to stop this rushing attack.