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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 10, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rynearson Stadium (30,200) -- Ypsilanti, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: CMU 2-4, EMU 1-3. Away Record: CMU 1-2, EMU 0-5. Neutral Record: CMU 0-0, EMU 0-0. Conference Record: CMU 1-4, EMU 0-5. Series Record: CMU leads, 55-28-6.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Michigan Eagles continue to look for their first Mid- American Conference win as they host the Central Michigan Chippewas at Rynearson Stadium this weekend.
Central Michigan is coming off of a 42-31 loss to Western Michigan. The setback was the fifth in six games for the Chippewas, who still have a slim chance of becoming bowl eligible. CMU needs to win out to finish .500 and possibly earn an invite to a bowl game. Dan Enos and his team did pick up a promising road victory earlier in the season over Iowa (32-31), but lost its next two versus MAC rivals Northern Illinois (55-24) and Toledo (50-35).
The Eagles were on the losing end of routs at Bowling Green (24-3) and Ohio (45-14) during their two-game road trip. The losses dropped EMU to 1-8 overall and 0-5 in MAC action. Coach Ron Washington has a very young team on his hands as 44 percent of his team's points this season are by sophomores.
This will be the 90th meeting between these in-state rivals in history. The Chippewas hold a 55-28-6 edge in the all-time series. EMU has won five of the last eight encounters including a 35-28 decision in last season's encounter.
CMU's offense has averages of 399.6 yards and 27.2 points per contest through its first nine games. Senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff is the team's field general. Although he has not attempted as many passes as when he was a junior, Radcliff's decision making has been the difference as he has improved his completion rate nearly three percentage points. He has amassed 2,281 yards and 16 touchdowns on 180-of-302 passing. Radcliff is coming off of a season-high 383-passing yard performance against Western Michigan.
Junior running back Zurlon Tipton is the main threat in the Chippewas' offensive attack. He was productive yet again last week, compiling 112 yards and scoring on two of his 22 rushing attempts. Tipton is averaging 8.7 points per game, which is the sixth best rate in the MAC.
Titus Davis and Cody Wilson are both consistent threats in the passing attack. Wilson has tallied a team-high of 55 receptions for 644 yards. Davis comes in with 831 yards, eight catches for scores, and 40 receptions. Wilson has made a catch in 39 consecutive games, which is the third longest active streak in the nation.
CMU is one of the weakest defensive squads in the FBS with allowed averages of 458.8 yards and 36.9 points per game. The Chippewas has allowed each of their previous two opponents to pass for 350 yards or more. The team has no real threatening pass rushers and has a total of eight sacks with Jahleel Addae's 1.5 serving as a team-high.
Sophomore LB Justin Cherocci leads the team with 96 total tackles after registering 12 versus WMU. Junior LB Shamari Benton is close behind with 84 stops.
Through its first five games, EMU managed only 263 yards and 15.4 points per game. The struggles seemed to be over as the Eagles have tallied 95 points and 1,191 yards over their next two games, but Bowling Green and Ohio University shut down in each of their past two outings. The Falcons limited EMU to only 178 yards and three points before the Bobcats held it to 305 yards and 14 points.
Bronson Hill is the x-factor on the offensive unit and produced a two-game outburst to spark the Eagles' offense. Hill had never rushed the ball more than four times in a game in his career before compiling 283 yards and four touchdowns on 28 rushes against Toledo. The sophomore has surpassed the century mark on the ground in three of his past four games.
After registering back-to-back 300-yard passing games, Tyler Benz went 20- of-45 for 252 yards with one TD to two interceptions in his last two outings. The junior quarterback really makes a difference when he gets into a rhythm, which has happened more often since Hill's arrival in the offensive scheme.
Garrett Hoskins is the primary weapon in EMU's passing attack. His season totals of 32 receptions and 486 yards are more than double the combined statistics of the team's second and third leading receivers.
The Eagles' defense has struggled all season long, surrendering 498.4 yards and 38.3 points per game. The biggest concern for coach English has to be the rush defense, which ranks last in the FBS, as opponents are averaging 302.6 yards against EMU this season.
Justin Cudworth is leading the program and ranks seventh in the MAC with 73 total stops. EMU needs its defenders to start making plays to improve its turnover margin, which is minus-0.56 per game.
With both defenses serving up points and yards to opponents, this one should be a shootout. CMU has a more reliable passer under center, but Hill may be able to motor the Eagles their first MAC win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Michigan 42, Central Michigan 38
11/07 10:41:24 ET
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