Eastern Michigan Eagles at Ohio Bobcats– Preview, TV, Streaming, Radio, Live Stats, Betting Line

Eastern Michigan at Ohio

  • Start Time: 2:00 PM EST. Saturday, October 15.
  • Location: Peden Stadium, Athens, Ohio
  • TV: ESPN3
  • Streaming: ESPN3
  • Radio: Ohio: HereEMU: Here.
  • Records: Ohio: 4-2. EMU: 4-2.
  • Live Stats: Here.
  • Line: Ohio -7. O/U: 57.

Eastern Michigan:

Can you believe we are really here? Six games into the season and the Eagles are sitting at 4-2 with a very good chance of going bowling. It has been an interesting route for EMU with back to back three-point wins over Wyoming and Bowling Green to get to four wins. They were brought a bit back to earth in losing 35-20 to Toledo, but hung in that game much longer than anyone expected. A few plays go differently and they may have been able to win.

The Eagles have been able to win despite a run game that is well below average. Since Shaq Vann was lost to injury, it has been a struggle to get consistent yards and explosive plays in the run game. Ian Eriksen and Breck Turner have been solid stopgaps, but a run game without Vann does not scare Ohio. The only possible scare would be with Todd Porter using his legs at quarterback. If he does play, he is unlikely to be the explosive runner that could gouge the Bobcats.

Since Porter is questionable for this game, the passing game comes down to the arm of Brogan Roback. The junior has been up and down throughout his career, but has been very good coming in for relief versus Wyoming and Bowling Green. He has to be at his best if EMU is going to pull this upset.

Luckily for Roback, the Eagles have a group of receivers that will put significant pressure on the Ohio defense. Sergio Bailey is the top receiver with 26 catches for 329 yards, but tight end Nigel Kilby is the player to watch. He is catching 77.3% of passes in his direction, is averaging 16.2 yards per reception, and has a team-high three touchdown catches. He is a huge target at 6-7, 239 pounds and is a matchup nightmare for defenses as linebackers cannot stay with him and safeties are dwarfed by his size.

The EMU defense is not great by any stretch in giving up 24, 25, and 35 in the last three games, but they do one thing well. They do not allow the run game to break away for explosive rushes. That is not to be confused with completely stopping the run game. EMU will give up rushing yards, but they take pride in forcing teams to move slowly downfield in order to score. The defense struggles late in drives in giving up 5.39 points per trip allowed inside the 40.

Pat O’Connor is the player to watch on the Eagles defense with a team-high 7.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks on the year. No one else on the defense is even close in either category.


It is tough to tell if Ohio is good or a product of a weak overall schedule. They have wins over Kansas, Gardner-Webb, Miami (OH), and Bowling Green, one of the weakest groups of four wins among any team nationally. Eastern Michigan is a huge step up and the best team they have faced since losing to Tennessee earlier in the season.

There is nothing in particular that stands out offensively for the Bobcats. They are below average in multiple rushing categories, but have the ability to break the long run. Quarterback Greg Windham is the best running option with junior AJ Ouellette out for the year. Even with a stuff rate above 21%, the Bobcats find a way to slowly move the ball downfield with Maleek Irons showing signs of turning into a good #1 back.

Windham will never be accused of being an accurate passer, but he does just enough to get the job done. He has a duo of senior receivers in Sebastian Smith and Jordan Reid that have big play potential, but neither receiver has a catch rate above 59%. Running back Papi White has turned into a solid option out of the backfield with 12 catches and a 13.7 yards per catch average, both very good numbers for a running back in a Frank Solich offense.

The Bobcats have one of the best linebacker trios in the MAC with Quentin Poling, Blair Brown, and Chad Moore all having very good seasons. The trio have combined for 15 tackles for loss, five sacks, and five forced fumbles. Tarell Basham has been outstanding on the defensive line with a team-high 6.5 sacks on a defense that has 25 total sacks on the year. The entire group gets after the passer.

A good defense and a weak offense is usually a tough combination. The defense ends up struggling due to offensive struggles, but Ohio is different. They go old school and do just enough to win the field position war. Ohio starts on average at the 35-yard line, good for #7 nationally. They are top 30 nationally in defensive field position, showing a great ability to flip the field.


This game could literally go in any direction. Neither team has the firepower to put up 40 points, making this game destined to come down to the fourth quarter. The magic is there for EMU, but this game is being played in Athens. Solich’s bunch do just enough to get the win.

Ohio 27, Eastern Michigan 20.

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