Scouting Eastern Michigan
Published: Monday, September 1, 2014 at 6:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 1, 2014 at 6:57 p.m.
Who: Eastern Michigan (1-0) at Florida (0-0)
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
TV: SEC Network
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850
Location: Ypsilanti, Mich.
Head coach: Chris Creighton, first season, 1-0 at EMU.
Last season: It was another in a line of recent disasters for the floundering program. After getting off to a woeful 1-8 start, head coach Ron English was fired. English is a defensive coach, and his defense last season was abysmal. The Eagles gave up 50 or more points in half their games (six), with the worst performance coming in a 58-7 loss to Bowling Green. In another embarrassing performance by the defense, the Eagles surrendered 50 points to Army. EMU finished 2-10, with the only victories coming against Howard and Western Michigan. It's been a tough recent run for the Eagles, who have won only 12 games over the past five seasons.
This season: The Eagles opened with a 31-28 victory at home over Morgan State. EMU's offense got it done mostly on the ground, rushing for 292 yards and passing for only 99. EMU's defense continued its recent struggles, giving up 479 total yards, including 269 through the air, but the Eagles did manage to hold Morgan State to less than 30 points.
Best offensive player: Senior tailback Bronson Hill produced his 10th career 100-yard rushing game last week in the win over Morgan State. He gained 114 yards on 19 carries for a 6.0 average. He rushed for 1,101 yards last season. At 5-foot-10, 215 pounds, he's a tough inside runner who also has a burst to the outside.
Best defensive player: Defensive tackle Pat O'Conner is a tough, physical player who plays with a great deal of passion. He's coming off the best game of his career, a 10-tackle performance against Morgan State in which had 1.5 sacks and three tackles for losses totaling 20 yards.
Key loss: Tyler Benz, who started 16 games at quarterback for the Eagles, left school at the end of last season after losing his starting job late in the year. The junior threw for almost 1,500 yards before getting benched in the eighth game.
Best player in school history: Defensive end John Banaszak, who went on to become a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers.