Head-to-head: Army vs. Eastern Michigan

The Army Black Knights open at Eastern Michigan on Saturday and optimism is in the air regarding West Point football. ArmySports.com compares different critical team areas of Army and Eastern Michigan and indicates which team has the edge. We also predict who will win the game.

ARMY
EDGE
AREA
Eastern Michigan
EDGE
COMMENTS
 
Army rushing offense
vs.
Eastern Michigan rushing defense
 
Army gets the edge here. With freshmen quarterback Trent Steelman, who has several years experience running option offenses like Army's, things could get rough for EMU. Last season EMU allowed opponents on average almost 200 rushing yards per game. Eagle linebacker Andre Hatchett had 51 tackles in 2008.  
EVEN  
Army passing offense
vs.
Eastern Michigan passing defense
EVEN  
This area is even. Army averaged just 46 yards a game passing last season. While first-year head coach Rich Ellerson is expected to pass more with the new option offense he has installed, we just don't know how good Army passing offense will be. We do know they'll have a 6-10 wide receiver in senior Ali Villanueva who will likely cause EMU problems. Fellow senior receiver Damion Hunter is also solid. EMU has sophomore defensive end Brad Ohrman back. Ohrman recorded 11 tackles for loss and six sacks as a freshman and could cause trouble for Army quarterbacks. The Eagles have three of four starters back in their secondary.  
EVEN  
Eastern Michigan rushing offense
vs.
Army rushing defense
EVEN  
Even in this area. Last season Army gave up 145 yards a game rushing while the Eagles rushed for 148. Army has most of its defense back for 2009 while EMU has their top four rushers back, led by Terrence Blevins who rushed for 575 yards. However, Dwyane Priest is listed as the starter for Saturday. He had 474 yards on the ground last season.  
 
Eastern Michigan passing offense
vs.
Army passing defense
 
EMU edge here. The Eagles have stellar senior Andy Schmitt back at quarterback. Schmitt is third on the Eastern Michigan career yardage passing list with 6,350 yards. Eagle wide receiver Jacory Stone has 148 career receptions. Army cornerback Mario Hill has 12 consecutive starts for the Black Knights. Hill broke up 6 passes last season. Army defensive end Josh McNary, who had 4.5 sacks last season, could make life miserable for Schmitt.  
 
Special Teams
 
EMU junior kicker Joe Carithers is back after going 10 for 14 on field goal tries last season; his longest went for 43 yards. Army's Matthew Campbell made 8 of 12 field goals including a long kick of 42 yards. The Eagles' Zach Johnson averaged 36.2 yards per punt last season. His counterpart, Army's Jonathan Bulls, did not play last season.  
 
Coaching
 
Rich Ellerson comes to Army from Cal Poly where he compiled a 60-41 record at the FCS level. Eastern Michigan's Ron English came to Eastern Michigan from Louisville, where he was the defensive coordinator. However, English has no prior collegiate head coaching experience.  
EVEN  
Intangibles
EVEN  
It's the season opener for both schools and this means each team will be pumped up for this game. EMU's stadium holds 30,200 and last year the Eagles averaged about 18,000 a game there. It won't be too hostile of an environment for Army.  


PREDICTION: Army 31 Eastern Michigan 24

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