Two paycheck games in the book, two tests against BCS level competition and the verdict is in: Eastern Michigan can’t compete against opposition of this caliber. Total score difference for the two games was 73-17. I keep hearing how the team “showed a few things” and that “there were positives.” This is a microcosm of what plagues this program. I don’t care what “positives” were present, 73-17 speaks for itself, much like Ron English’s 11-40 career record at EMU.
Chatter around the program contains the usual complaining about offensive play-calling. I won’t begrudge these complaints, especially after watching Eastern rush the ball forty times at a 0.9 yard per carry clip. But I don’t think Stan Parrish deserves the brunt of the criticism, I think the blame lies with the offensive philosophy of the head coach. It isn’t working, and hasn’t worked save for a few games in 2011. In trying to turn Eastern into a smash-mouth, run first offense, Coach English blew up Jeff Genyk’s offensive scheme (which was pretty effective) and pulled a reverse Rich Rod by trying to fit a group of spread players into a pro-style offense. Now that those players are gone, replaced by English’s recruits, the reality that a program like EMU simply cannot force their will on opposing defenses seems all-too apparent.
Want to know what imposing offensive will on the opposition looks like? How about the Rutgers run game. Paul James ran roughshod over the Eastern defense, with 21 carries for 196 yards and three touchdowns.
I wrote at the beginning of the season that this year comes down to Homecoming against Ball State. Nothing about that has changed. If Eastern can somehow put together a complete performance (that includes you, special teams!) then perhaps EMU can start 1-0 in the MAC and have a respectable showing in conference play. A loss will confirm all of the doubts of the fan base. A 3-9 season and more rebuilding awaits.
Beak of the Week
When hunting in the wild, Eagles catch their prey in numerous ways. One way is through air to air assault. Eagles will quite often ambush large groups of migrating birds; through pinpoint accuracy they will dive into the group and seize their prey. With that in mind, I hereby award the Beak of the Week for the Rutgers game to junior QB Tyler Benz, who (when he wasn’t handing the ball off forty times) showed precision ability in his aerial attack. Benz completed 24-40 passes for 335 yards to go with a touchdown and a pick. These numbers could have been better, as there were a couple dropped balls and a missed pass interference call. Play calling aside, Benz is a pretty accurate thrower. I’d like to see the offensive brain trust open up the playbook for him, Benz should have thrown the ball 50-55 times against Rutgers.
For now, Benz will have to be happy with BOtW status, the first for an offensive player.
- Gym, laundry, shank. Welcome to New Jersey, Austin Barnes.
- I mentioned dropped passes, but overall the more I see of this receiver corps, the more I like them. Benz has options: Demarius Reed, Jay Jones, Dustin Creel, and TE Tyreese Russell. I know I am being redundant, but maybe getting the ball to this crew a little more instead of repeatedly sending a RB into a brick wall would be effective.
- If I’m Ron English (and clearly I am not), I would have open competition this week at the kicker spot, Fulkerson vs. Mulder. Whoever sucks the least wins.
- I like how the officials completely missed a blatant facemask penalty by Rutgers in the first quarter. What with 0.9 yards a carry, missed 31 yard field goals, shanked punts, and tread marks from Paul James all over the defenses backs, the least we could ask for is 15 yards when some dude wrenches Darius Jackson’s head to the ground by his facemask.
- By the way, that was sarcasm. I distinctly don’t like it when officials miss facemask calls. Got it, Wayne?
- Since Eagle Totem is the pre-eminent MAC blog, it seems appropriate to comment on Akron’s near upset of Big Bro last Saturday. My question is this: How fluky was that performance for the Zips? Nothing is expected of them in the MAC, they are considered a lower tier (just like Eastern!) team this year. Is Terry Bowden turning them around? Were you rooting for Akron, or do you want to save the next Ann Arbor MAC upset for Eastern, sometime around the year 2047?