Penn State-Eastern Michigan Preview
Last week, Penn State scraped by Temple for a 14-10 win in Philadelphia. This week, Eastern Michigan provides the Nittany Lions with one final test before the start of the Big Ten season. Penn State will look to build up some momentum against the Eagles before heading to Bloomington to take on Indiana next week.
Team: Eastern Michigan Eagles
Head Coach: Ron English (4-23 record; three seasons)
Series History: Penn State leads 1-0
Players to look for: QB Alex Gillett, RB Javonti Greene, LB Justin Cudworth
Prediction: Penn State wins 45-10
Eastern Michigan started the season with wins over Howard and Alabama State, but the Eagles’ success came to a grinding halt last week with a 31-3 loss to Michigan. Eastern Michigan should experience the same difficulty it faced against Michigan when it takes on Penn State this week.
Penn State cannot take its opponent lightly, however, especially their offense, as the Eagles have racked up a whopping 287.9 rushing yards per game this season. The three-headed attack consisting of running backs Greene and Dominique Sherrer and quarterback Gillett could give the Penn State defense issues.
That being said, the Nittany Lions should be able to key on the running game. Eastern Michigan is passing for just 68.3 yards per game, and Gillett has thrown two interceptions. With extra players in the box, Penn State will force Eastern Michigan to throw against a talented secondary that has managed to grab four interceptions this season.
Unfortunately, it’s unlike that this game will answer many lingering questions on the minds of Penn State fans. The offense should not encounter any trouble against an Eastern Michigan team giving up almost 300 yards per game, so the quarterback and kicking situations will probably be left unsolved. Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin will probably both get significant time in this game, and the likelihood is that they’ll each be successful.
Unlike last week against Temple, Penn State will come out scoring early and often against Eastern Michigan. The Eagles are not as good as the Owls, and the Nittany Lions will have the added comfort of playing at home. Eastern Michigan may manage to score a field goal and a late touchdown, but Penn State will easily pull out a 45-10 victory. They’ll need the confidence boost, as they head into Big Ten play against Indiana next week.