Eastern Michigan (0-2) at Purdue (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 15, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ross-Ade Stadium (62,500) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: EMU 0-1, Purdue 1-0. Away Record: EMU 0-1, Purdue 0-1. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, Purdue 0-0. Conference Record: EMU 0-1, Purdue 0-0. Series Record: Purdue leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Eastern Michigan will continue to search for its first win of the season when the Eagles travel to Ross-Ade Stadium for a non-conference battle with the Purdue Boilermakers.
The Eagles' home opener was spoiled by costly turnovers as they suffered a 31-14 setback to the Illinois State Redbirds of the FCS. EMU committed five turnovers and nine penalties while being held scoreless in the second half of the defeat. Head coach Ron English was a perfect 3-0 versus Purdue while serving as an assistant at Michigan from 2003-2007. English, now in his fourth season as EMU's head coach, has an 8-30 career record. The Eagles have lost their previous four games dating back to last season. Eastern Michigan has outscored its opponents, 27-3, in the second quarter of its first two games, but it has yet to get on the board in the first or third quarter of a game this season.
Purdue came up just short its last time out as Kyle Brindza's 27-yard field goal with seven seconds left gave Notre Dame a 20-17 victory in the instate rivalry game. The Boilermakers erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter before the Fighting Irish jumped back in front at the last second. Head coach Danny Hope's squad is now 1-1 with two more non-conference tests before beginning Big Ten play. The Boilermakers rank in the top half of the Big Ten in nearly every statistical category.
This will be just the second meeting in history between EMU and Purdue. The Boilermakers hold a 1-0 advantage after cruising to a 49-3 victory in their first-ever matchup against the Eagles in 1991.
EMU has plenty of room for improvement offensively after two games. The Eagles are averaging just 20 points and a MAC worst 307 yards of total offense per game. Dual-threat quarterback Alex Gillett is leading the team with 230.5 total yards per game. The senior signal caller is currently ranked fourth in program history in total offensive yards.
Gillett is producing a team-best 65 yards per game on the ground. Javonti Green (88 yards on 15 carries) and Dominique Sherrer (51 yards on 18 carries) could see their roles in the offense expand, as English is sure to mix things up in an effort to cure EMU's offensive woes.
None of the Eagles' wide receivers have stood out so far in the early season. Tight end Garrett Hoskins leads the team with five catches and two touchdown receptions.
Eastern Michigan's defense has been unimpressive, allowing 483.5 yards and 34 points per game. The inability to stop the run has been a glaring issue as Ball State and Illinois State rushed for a combined 545 yards and seven touchdowns in the first two games.
Defensive back Bryan Pali opened up the 2012 season with a team-high 17 tackles against Ball State and leads the team in stops for the season. Six other players have recorded double-digit stops.
Senior defensive lineman Andy Malumba will be looking to ride some personal momentum into West Lafayette after submitting a career-best nine tackle performance against Illinois State.
With previously declared starter Caleb TerBush suspended for the season opener for violating team rules, Robert Marve played well enough in his place to convince Danny Hope to alternate the quarterbacks against Notre Dame. TerBush got the start and threw for 79 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions on 8-of-19 passing in his debut. Marve completed 11-of-18 passes for 119 yards and a score in the loss.
Senior WR Antavian Edison will attempt to extend his consecutive games with a reception streak to 24. Edison and O.J. Ross are tied for the team-lead with an average of 6.5 catches per game.
Purdue's ground attack has played second fiddle to its aerial assault so far, but Akeem Shavers should be able to slice through EMU's weak rush defense and improve upon his average of 55.5 yards per game.
The Boilermakers' defensive unit has stifled their opponents this season. Purdue held Eastern Kentucky to just 190 yards of total offense, while Notre Dame managed just 52 rushing yards on 39 carries. The Fighting Irish found some success through the air (324 yards), but the Boilermakers managed to record five sacks and force two fumbles in the contest.
Kawann Short is off to a hot start with three sacks in two games. The All- America candidate defensive tackle is one of the biggest reasons Purdue is nearly impossible to run against. He is a half sack away from placing himself on the school's all-time career sacks top-10 list.
Purdue's special teams unit is amongst the best in the country as well. Punter Cody Webster was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after having six of his seven punts fall inside Notre Dame's 20-yard line.
EMU came out flat and failed to executive offensively last time out against an FCS opponent. Purdue should have no problem shutting down Gillett and the Eagles' offense TerBush and Marve's battle for time at quarterback will keep the Boilermakers moving offensively as they bounce back from their heartbreaking loss to Notre Dame.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Purdue 38, Eastern Michigan 10
09/12 11:16:28 ET