Win or go home. That is the fate for this Eastern Michigan University football team this week as they prepare to play their final regular season game of the year against the University at Buffalo in New York. What better way to do it than in the Big Apple?
Both teams came off of nail-biting finishes last week as the Eagles defeated Akron University in a double overtime thriller to put them one win away from bowl eligibility. On the other hand, Buffalo lost a heartbreaker on the road against Miami (OH) after a late touchdown that would have made it a one-possession game was called back, resulting in a 23-10 loss to the Red Hawks.
These two teams have only met a total of 10 times, as the Eagles own the series as they sit with a 6-4 advantage. In recent years it has been all Buffalo as they have knocked off EMU in their past three meetings.
Here is the full game preview, as well as how to watch and what to watch for:
How to watch
When: Tuesday, Nov. 21
Where: Buffalo, New York
Time: 7:30 p.m.
EMU vs. Buffalo odds
Spread: Buffalo -5.5
Over/Under: 36.5 points
Moneyline: Buffalo -200
ESPN Analytics: Buffalo 64.4% chance to win
Keys to success, what to watch
EMU: Those who paid attention last week, there’s really no secret: feed Samson Evans and utilize the playmakers. The Eagles are coming off of one of their most complete offensive performances all year against Akron where the offense totaled 315 yards (214 passing, 101 rushing) and Evans carried the ball 15 times for 71 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Not only did Evans do his thing, but wide receivers Tanner Knue (eight catches for 79 yards) and Hamze El-Zayat (six catches for 92 yards) were both stellar on the outside for the Eagles as quarterback Austin Smith finished with 214 passing yards and one passing touchdown. When this offense focuses on getting the ball into the hands of both Knue and El-Zayat, while feeding Evans in the red zone, they can be efficient and score the ball with ease.
Buffalo: The key for Buffalo will be to get the job done on defense and stop this Eagles offensive attack. Although Buffalo has only secured three wins this year with eight losses, the record simply doesn't speak for itself; when this defense gets going, they are tough to battle with. In Buffalo’s three wins this year, they have only allowed their opponents to score a total of 29 points: Kent State (six points), Central Michigan (13 points), and Akron (10 points). Within that defense is sophomore safety Devin Grant, who secured two interceptions returned for touchdowns against Central Michigan, as well as a blocked field goal against Akron to triumph Buffalo in both of those wins. The Eagles must be careful because if this defense comes to play on Tuesday night, it could be a long one for EMU.