The sixth game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (1-4, Sagarin 151) and Mid American Conference, Eastern Michigan Eagles (2-4, Sagarin 138). These teams played once before in 1992, Army prevailed at home 57-17. Both teams are coming off relatively big wins. Army ended the nation's longest losing streak. The winner of this pillow fight will take a step towards .500; the loser will be re-introduced to ESPN's bottom 10.
The 20-point underdog Army beat Tulane at home, 44-13. Army came out on fire and ready to play, Tulane merely showed up. The Army defense hit hard and caused four turnovers returning a fumble and interception for a touchdown. Army did not commit any themselves. This is the first time that they have won the turnover battle and it produced a win. Collin Mooney carried the ball 19 times for 187 yards and 4 touchdowns. Chip Bowden carried only 13 times for 51 yards and completed 3 of 4 passes.
Army initially blocked a punt and they followed with a touchdown. They held the momentum through the first half. Momentum seemed to swing early in the third quarter, but Army forced a fumble and turned the game into a route.
At Bowling Green, Andy Schmitt threw a 16 yard touchdown pass with 36 seconds left to give the Eagles their first conference win of the year. Eastern Michigan amassed 410 yards offense and limited Bowling Green to 94 yards rushing.
What we Learned
Army may be on to something. No turnovers, a hard hitting defense and an offense able to generate first downs and points. This has happened for two games in a row. Is it possible that the players are getting comfortable with the offense? Is it possible that Mooney can carry the ball without fumbling? We learned that Army may be improving.
We learned that Eastern Michigan is capable of playing an error free game and that they are capable of winning on the last drive. The Eagles had lost against all 4 division IA opponents and had not produced many points. Last week, they played a great game and beat a mediocre Bowling Green team.
Who is favored?
This game is a Pick'em
What to look for?
The Eagles seem to be able to amass points and score against mediocre defenses and commit turn overs against the good defenses. The Black Knights, in the last two games, have played very good defense and limited the turn overs.
The big questions are:
· Will the Black Knight defense contain the Eastern Michigan Offense?
· Will the Army offense be able to move the ball without fumbling?
· Will Army special teams not allow big plays?
If Army can do these 3 things relatively well, they should win. But which Army team will show up?
I look for Army to continue their improvement in offense. I look for their defense to keep them in the game. Army and Eastern Michigan are due to make some mistakes. I imagine the one that makes the fewest will win.
Final Score – Army 21- Eastern Michigan 17 (Predictions this year 2-3)
The game will be televised on ESPN Classic @ 1:00PM EST.