Grading EMU’s Week 3 Performance vs. Ball State

Eastern Michigan defensive lineman Luke MacLean lays down a hard hit on Ball State wide receiver Terin Solomon in the Eagles 28-17 loss to Ball State Saturday afternoon in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Following its 28-17 loss to Ball State University, the Echo graded how the offense, defense and special teams did in the Eagles Mid-American Conference opener.

Pass Offense: C-

Early in the game EMU was moving the ball fairly well through the air. Quarterback Brogan Roback was able to connect with top targets Dustin Creel, Kris Strange and Eddie Daugherty for 20-yards or more on a few occasions. The second half was much different as EMU had problems passing the ball. Passes seemed rushed, or off-balanced, exemplified by interceptions thrown late in the game.

Rush Offense: B+

Although there weren’t a lot of yards on the ground for EMU, running backs Darius Jackson and Shaq Vann had respectable games. As EMU started to drop points, the offense began to throw the ball more. Ball State had a ton of problems stopping Jackson when the ball was in his hands, so running the ball might have been the best option when EMU was trailing. Jackson had 7 carries for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns, while averaging 13.9 per carry.

Pass Defense: D+

Ball State earned a lot of credit for having a good quarterback who was able to find receivers and have the ability to get the ball to open receivers. A majority of the incomplete passes were because of Ball State’s lack of ability to catch the ball. EMU played a cushion defense, which allowed Ball State room to complete the play and pick up yardage. EMU allowed many third-down conversions through the air as BSU quarterback Riley Neal went 24/28 for 194-yards and a touchdown.

Rush Defense: F

Ball State held the advantage when running the ball. They didn’t have a ton of long runs, but they averaged over 5-yards per carry in this game. EMU’s defense had trouble being able to control Ball State’s quarterback from running the ball as well. Riley compiled 86-yards on the ground. BSU ran for 278-yards as a team and scored three touchdowns running the ball. The Cardinals went 12/23 on third and fourth down conversions.

Special Teams: B+

EMU didn’t allow Ball State any room on punt returns and they didn't have the opportunity to return the ball on kickoffs. Dylan Mulder went two-for-two on extra points, but would miss one of the two field goals attempted by the Eagles.

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