September 17th, 2005, The Big House
Eastern Michigan Eagles
2004 Record: 4-7 (4-4 MAC)
Head Coach: Jeff Genyk (2nd year)
Returning Starters: Offense: 5, Defense: 4
Quarterback Matt Bohnet returns after passing for 2,807 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Bohnet also ran for 424 yards from Eastern Michigan's new spread offense. RB Anthony Sherrell, who has rushed for 2,400 yards this far in his career, will not know until August whether he is eligible to return and the Eagles need his production back. If Sherrell isn't cleared, Nelson Drew will take over. Bohnet's favorite target Eric Deslauriers returns; the 6'4 future NFL prospect caught 84 passes for 1,257 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. AJ Bennett returns to the starting lineup while Mark Borders and Trumaine Riley will see time in spread sets. Matt Bohnet's brother Ken will take over at tight end but is more in the receiver mold. The offensive line returns two starters from a unit that only allowed 14 sacks last year.
The key to success this year for the Eagles will be improving a defense that ranked 114th in 2004 and only returns three starters. Olivier Gagnon-Gordillo returns at one end, where he recorded nine tackles for loss last year. The other end will be Kevin Howe who registered three sacks last year. Colorado transfer Josh Hunt should spark up the interior line. Three new starters at linebacker will make things either better or worse for the Eagles, but this group does have experience as backups last year. The secondary ranked 115th last year and returns only two starters (which may or may not be a good thing). Seniors Corey Parker, Rontrell Woodruff and Steven Lewis will start but there is no depth behind them.
The special teams unit should be excellent with Lou Groza finalist Andrew Wellock returning. Wellock his 21 of 23 field goals last year and will also handle punting duties. The return game lacks big flare and could look somewhere other than '04 starter Trumaine Riley to spark this area.
Prediction: Michigan: 35, Eastern Michigan: 10
Preview: The Eastern Michigan Eagles
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