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Eastern Michigan vs. Central Michigan game preview, odds, what to watch

Echo Sports Editor Blake McQueary gives some insight in a preview of the tenured MAC rivalry showdown between the Eagles and Chippewas

For 101 years and counting, in the great state of Michigan, the Eagles of Eastern Michigan University and the Chippewas of Central Michigan University have clashed in a MAC rivalry that is ruled the longest feud in the conference’s history. 

Entering week five, EMU stands at 2-2 after a disappointing week four in Alabama as they got shutout by Jacksonville State, 21-0. On the other hand, CMU enters the week hot as they finished a comeback win over South Alabama, 34-30. 

The Eagles have a history of struggles in Mount Pleasant, Mich. as they haven’t won inside Kelly Shorts Stadium since 2011. If they can get it done for the first time in 12 years, it will advance them one step closer to a repeat of the Michigan MAC title. 

Here is the full game preview, as well as how to watch and what to watch for: 

How to watch 

When: Saturday, Sept. 30 

Time: 1:30 p.m. ET 

TV: ESPN+ 

EMU vs. CMU odds 

Spread: CMU -7.5 

Over/Under: 47.5 points 

Moneyline: CMU -330

ESPN Analytics: CMU 74.5% chance to win 

Keys to success, what to watch 

EMU: It’s been stated before, but it has to be stated again; the passing attack must be strong and efficient on Saturday against the Chippewas. It’s apparent amongst fans that this Eagles offense is struggling, and answers need to be brought to the table, especially through the air. Against a Chippewa defense that is giving up an average of 342.0 passing yards per game this season, there is no other option but to execute the passing game with success, that is how you win. To add to that, every quarterback that has faced this Chippewa defense so far this season has thrown for 250+ yards. Of course the run game needs to show up as well, but through the air is going to be your bread and butter. 

CMU: Same week, same kryptonite; run the ball. Last week Jacksonville State proved the struggle with this EMU defense, and it is indeed defending the run. In three out of four games so far this year, the Eagles have allowed opposing running backs to rush for more than 120 yards, as last week Jacksonville State's Malik Jackson rushed for 127 yards, while quarterback Logan Smothers added 118. On top of that, EMU has allowed two opponents this year to rush for nearly 300 yards (Jax. State: 295, Minnesota: 294). Until they can defend the run with success, that is exactly how you wear down this green-and-white defense and beat them.

Samson Evans on the brink of history: With EMU running back Samson Evans sitting at 30 career touchdowns, just two behind EMU football's all-time leader Gary Patton with 32, Evans has the chance to make history on Saturday becoming the Eagles all-time career touchdown leader if he finds the endzone twice. 

Check out the full story on Evans' potential achievement: Evans eyes Eagles career touchdown record