Game Preview: Eastern Michigan at Aztecs

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The EMU Screaming Emus.

What: Football game
Who: Eastern Michigan Eagles at San Diego State Aztecs
When:
 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: SDCCU Stadium
TV: CBS Sports Network
Line: Aztecs -10.5

The Stakes

After Saturday’s upset over Arizona State, SDSU takes its next step on the way to the NEW YEAR’S SIX BABY WOOOOOO. We are definitely not getting ahead of ourselves.

The Opponent

The Aztecs close out their nonconference slate with some #MACtion against an opponent that plays for the widows in paradise, for the fatherless in Ypsilanti. This year, they’re also probably playing for the the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. Which is not a diss. I’d kill to see SDSU in that stupid game, to be honest.


Eastern Michigan has long been the weak sister of the MAC’s directional Michigan triad. The program — always seemingly on the verge of being axed due to lack of funding —  is a commuter school with the misfortune of being six miles away from University of Michigan. In 2016, the Eagles snapped a two-decade streak of non-winning seasons, which is an incredible run of ineptitude. Remember how brutal the Ted Tollner to Tom Craft to Chuck Long death slog was in the 2000s? Imagine going through two of those stretches back to back.

But this year, the EMU Eagles (seriously, how are they not the EMU Emus?) are actually pretty good! They beat Purdue in the rain two weeks ago and then gave MAC heavyweight (relatively speaking) Buffalo a good game on the road.

Here are the three things you should probably know about their squad:

For one, they can pass and they have two QBs who are both pretty good. Iowa grad transfer Tyler Wiegers is a 6-4 pocket passer who led the victory over the Boilermakers. Last week, he struggled and was relieved by dual threat Mike Glass III who rushed for 69 yards and a touchdown. Expect to see either, or even both, Saturday judging from this extremely foobawcoach quote from head coach Chris Creighton:

“We feel as though we’ve got two really good quarterbacks and we’ve used them both already this season and we’re going to continue to, and we’re glad that we’ve got them both and they’re both playing good football.”

He said both three times in one sentence, which might be a record.

On the receiving end is 5-foot-9 Blake Banham who isn’t an NFL-bound freak like JJ Arcega-Whiteside or N’Keal Harry, but he’s averaging more receiving yards per game than either of those guys. Keep the All-Targeting Defense ready just in case!

Second, EMU doesn’t stop the run particularly well. The Eagles allowed 341 yards rushing to Purdue and another 164 yards on the ground last week to Buffalo. So basically SDSU’s strength is EMU’s weakness. And EMU’s strength is SDSU’s weakness. These two teams are truly yin and yang, existing as inseparable and complementary opposites. Both create a totality, a complete whole.

(CBS Sports college football theme song plays on a Guzheng)

What’s the third thing you need to know? This, basically.

Hakuna matata and so forth.

History
The two schools have never met, which is weird because this is exactly the type of team SDSU would’ve randomly played six times in the 1970s.

Other factors
Given the start time and the opponent, expect the crowd at STADIUM to be sparse. Or as EMU would call it, an impossibly massive throng of humanity.

grey-field-at-rynearson-stadium-900x675
Their tarp game puts ours to shame. Respect.

This is also one game where the dreaded 7:30 p.m. start time should work in SDSU’s favor. That’s 10:30 Ypsilanti time — a time when their players are usually either going to bed, playing Fortnight or trying to get into UM frat parties in Ann Arbor.

Also the Aztecs are dealing with some injuries on offense. Juwan Washington (turf toe) is expected to play, but WR Tim Wilson Jr. (back) might not and OL Zach Thomas is out for the season with a knee injury. Not great!

Film study
God, this Purdue game. Two gutting fumbles on potential scoring drives. A missed fourth quarter field goal. A bad personal foul in crunch time. This is everything the Sac State game nearly was.

STAFF PREDICTIONS

AttemptedChem @attemptedchem
Here is what I know about Eastern Michigan: They are green. They are the Eagles. They frequently have one of the lowest home attendance totals in the country. They were recently very bad and are now pretty decent. They are going to give up 300 yards at the Concrete Tombstone on Saturday.
SDSU 27, Eastern Michigan 14

Advisory Columnist @EgosAndDespair
These teams are an interesting matchup since their offensive strengths are geared to exploit each respective defense’s weaknesses. They are both coming off of wins over Power 5 opponents. If there’s ever an advantage to being a Group of 5 school on the west coast it’s that you are so completely irrelevant that you get the late start time. EMU’s body clocks are starting this game at 10:30 PM. Has to be an advantage, right? Then again, if you can’t go well into the night/morning on a weekend you really aren’t a good college student, now are you?
SDSU 27, Eastern Michigan 17

AztecsKillingHim @AKH_blog
The last two years, SDSU’s #MACtion experience has involved big early leads and hanging on for dear life at the end. Eastern Michigan is about as good as Northern Illinois, so expect this game to go the exact same way. These are the rules of #MACtion.
SDSU 24, Eastern Michigan 23

lemonverbena @kabeerthirty
SDSU’s non-conference Group of Five opponent is a traditional trap game (see South Alabama). Conversely, the Aztecs have never lost to a MAC school. EMU doesn’t defend the run well and SDSU just mauled a good ASU defense. Rock’s rejuvenated offense behind Ryan Agnew should grind the EMU into a fine powder.
SDSU 31, Eastern Michigan 14

Consensus: Four Aztecs wins. Three covers.

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Author: Aztecs Killing Him

Former proprietor of AztecsKillingHim dot com, a long-dead SDSU sports blog that was possibly dumber even than this one. On Twitter at @akh_blog.

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