Taking a Look at EMU...Through Green Lenses!
Eastern Michigan is up next for MSU after they totally throttled Indiana State 52-0. Indiana State was without their starting QB because of suspension, but it wouldnâ€™t have mattered, as EMU rolled up 30 first downs and 637-total yards on offense. They also held Indiana State to just seven first downs and 132 yards of total offense. The good news is MSU is not Indiana State. In fact, the EMU Eagles have averaged 40-points a game their last 4 games.
Eastern is really improving, having beat Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan a year ago, while playing Northwestern and Michigan tough. They are poised for an upset and this is a sandwich game for MSU, so the Spartans canâ€™t be caught looking ahead. They have what is considered one of the better, if not the best O-lines in the MAC, and are motivated by QB Andy Schmidt, a guy who wanted to wear the green and white, â€¦but with â€˜Michigan Stateâ€™ across the jersey.
The Spartans are still poised for a big year if they can fix the leaks and get on the same page. I believe the offensive line will be fine. Although technically playing a 3-man defensive front, Cal jammed the box with seven or eight defenders at times and made it difficult to run, and the Bears also brought linebackers off the edge and on delayed blitzes from everywhere. So MSU was not technically running against a three-man line as some will have you believe. In fact, you may remember seeing LB Follett stuffing Ringer in the backfield and arriving at almost as the same time as the ball. That was a play that where there should have been a TE on the right side, or the RT should have chipped him, or perhaps Hoyer should have checked out of that play. Yet, that was typical on a night of anxiety for MSU and mental mistakes. Sure the offensive linemen made mistakes, but the TEâ€™s and fullbacks missed blocks as well.
My real concern is the defense. Too often in the current regime have we experienced the offense fighting back and scoring only to have the defense give up a score quickly after that. Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Iowa come to mind, and we can add Cal to that list. There is great effort by the defense, but perhaps not the recognition of what the opposition tends to do in certain situations. Giving the Cal TE a free release from scrimmage comes to mind.
Keys To The Game: EMUâ€™s last game was so skewed that looking back at last year will give us a better indication of what could happen. Stopping the run will be first on the list
EMUâ€™s last game was so skewed that looking back at last year will give us a better indication of what could happen. Stopping the run will be first on the listas Vandy and Pitt showed a year ago. MSU will have to have good balance offensively, especially running the ball as Toledo showed. In other words, this is a game that will be won in the trenches and that should pay off for MSU.