It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. That’s been the motto for the Eastern Michigan University football team and fans this season as the Eagles’ regular season schedule comes to a close with their final home game on the clock against the University of Akron.
The Eagles have been in a slump in recent weeks as their losing streak expanded to three games after last week's 49-25 blowout loss to Toledo, while Akron failed to produce a winning streak after suffering a shutout loss to Miami (OH), 19-0.
In the all-time series record, Akron owns the matchup as they’ve gone 19-15 against the Eagles, but recently it’s been all EMU as they’ve knocked off the Zips in the past three meetings (2018, 2019, 2022).
Here is your full game preview, as well as how to watch and what to watch for:
How to watch
When: Tuesday, Nov. 14
Where: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Time: 7:00 p.m.
TV: CBS Sports Network
EMU vs. Akron odds
Spread: EMU -4.5
Over/Under: 39.5 points
Moneyline: EMU -200
ESPN Analytics: EMU 70.1% chance to win
Keys to success, what to watch
EMU: The key for the Eagles on Tuesday night will be to run the ball successfully and efficiently, and I think that will be their sole focus of attack. Akron’s pass defense is pretty stellar as they rank 19th in the country, while the run defense lacks a little bit, ranking 73rd. Running backs Jaylon Jackson and Samson Evans have totaled 893 rushing yards on the year so far, those two being the familiar faces EMU fans are used to seeing. Some faces they aren’t used to seeing in the backfield too often are Elijah Jackson-Anderson and transfer Dante McMillan, two guys who scored their first touchdowns for the Eagles last week against Toledo. EMU will and should want to run the ball, with Jackson and Evans getting the most touches. Also, don't be surprised if they integrate Jackson-Anderson and McMillan into the scheme a little bit more than they have all season, leading to a big night on the ground for the Eagles.
Akron: Now the key for Akron to pick up their third win of the season will be to throw the ball with success and attack this EMU defense. The Zips took a huge hit early in the season as they lost All-MAC quarterback DJ Irons for the year, but Jeff Undercuttler Jr. has stepped in and been somewhat productive behind center as he’s totaled 1,052 passing yards with four touchdowns. Akron also has two wideouts who have totaled over 400 receiving yards so far this season with Jasaiah Gathings (452 receiving yards) and Daniel George (425 receiving yards). Now this EMU defense has been resilient this year in allowing touchdown scores as they held their first three of four MAC opponents to 20 or fewer points, but luckily for the Zips, the Eagles have been struggling recently as they’ve allowed a total of 94 points within the past two weeks.