FACTS & STATS: Site: Michie Stadium (38,000) -- West Point, New York.
Television: CBS Sports Network. Home Record: EMU 1-1, Army 1-2. Away Record:
EMU 0-3, Army 0-2. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, Army 1-0. Conference Record: EMU
0-2, Army 0-0. Series Record: Army leads, 4-1.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Michigan Eagles will look to end a four-game losing
streak as they close out their non-conference slate against the Army Black
Knights at Michie Stadium.
Since defeating FCS foe Howard, 34-24, in their season opener, the Eagles have
lost their last four games to Penn State, Rutgers, Ball State and Buffalo by
an average of 28.8 points per contest. Coach Ron English's squad endured a
42-14 loss at Buffalo last week to fall to 0-2 in Mid-American Conference
play. EMU is 0-12 in non-conference road games under English.
Army will also be looking to bounce back after falling, 48-27, to Boston
College in Chestnut Hill last week. The loss was the fourth in five games
against FBS opponents for the Black Knights, who enter Saturday with victories
over Morgan State (28-12) and Louisiana Tech (35-16). Now in his fifth season
at the helm of the program, Rich Ellerson owns a 19-36 record as Army's head
One of Ellerson's losses came courtesy of the Eagles last season as his Black
Knights lost, 48-38, at Rynearson Stadium in 2012. Army owns a 4-1 all-time
series lead, including a 2-0 record versus the Eagles at West Point.
The Eagles have struggled to produce during their losing streak, averaging
only 325.3 yards of total offense and 12.8 points during the four-game span.
EMU amassed only 329 total yards at Buffalo last week in its lopsided loss.
Tyler Benz got off to a hot start as he completed his first four pass attempts
for 44 yards before finishing 12-of-19 for 157 yards with one touchdown and an
interception. While Benz connects with his target on 64.5 percent of his pass
attempts, his poor decision making has led to four interceptions over the past
three games. EMU lacks experience in its receiving corps and has yet to
establish a lead wideout. Junior tight end Tyreese Russell is pacing the team
with 23 receptions and 230 yards.
Bronson Hill has registered a pair of 100-yard rushing outings this season for
EMU, which nets only 124 yards on the ground per game. Hill is gaining only
3.9 yards per carry in 2013 after picking up 6.5 ypc last season as a
sophomore. The junior halfback had a strong showing against the Black Knights
in last year's meeting, tallying 252 combined rushing and receiving yards
along with a pair of touchdowns. Ryan Brumfield could see an increased
workload after scoring on a 75-yard touchdown run on one of his two carries
The Eagles' defense has been devastated by big plays on a consistent basis
this season. They have allowed 40 of their opponents' plays to result in gains
of 20 yards or more with 14 of them resulting in touchdowns. EMU's opponents
have scored nine touchdowns on plays of 50 yards or more. The Eagles are
ranked 108th among FBS schools in rushing defense at 212.6 ypg, and that
standing could get worse after facing Army's option attack. Sophomore
linebacker Ike Spearman paced the team with eight tackles last week as it
allowed Buffalo to compile 452 yards of total offense. Senior defensive back
Mycal Swaim is leading the defense with 34 total tackles and an interception.
Swaim will most likely be creeping towards the line of scrimmage on Saturday
to counter Army's triple-option offense, which is ranked fourth nationally in
rushing offense at 325.5 yards per game. Six different players have already
surpassed the 100-yard mark, including junior quarterback Angel Santiago, the
team's leader with four rushing touchdowns. Santiago has completed only 38.9
percent of his passing attempts for 209 yards, but is a threatening rusher
with 387 yards through five games. The junior signal caller found some success
through the air last week as he completed a 75-yard touchdown pass to Xavier
Moss in the first half.
Army's junior tailback trio of Terry Baggett, Larry Dixon and Trenton
Turrentine powers its offense. Baggett has been unstoppable, gaining 8.2 yards
per carry on his way to 401 yards. Dixon racked up a team-high 125 yards as
Army collected 326 yards on the ground at Boston College.
The Black Knights are coming off their worst defensive performance of the
season. The Eagles rushed for 320 yards, while their starting QB Chase Rettig
completed all but two of his pass attempts for 208 yards. After giving up 48
points to Boston College, Army is tied for 81st among FBS teams in scoring
defense at 29.2 points allowed per game. Senior linebacker Thomas Holloway
recorded his second double-digit tackle performance of the season last week
and paces the team with 38 stops.
Benz could have one of his best outings of the season against the Black
Knights' weak pass defense. The junior quarterback hasn't had time to let
routes develop at all so far, but that could change this week as Army's main
focus will be Hill. Santiago's injury (ankle) may limit him and could force
Ellerson to turn over his offense to A.J. Schurr or Kelvin White.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Michigan 28, Army 24