YPSILANTI, Mich. — GAME NOTES
Saturday night’s game in Nashville, Tennessee against Vanderbilt University will be the first of three consecutive road games for the Eastern Michigan University football team, this flock Eagles will be migrating after the trip into the Music City, with a stop in Muncie, Indiana to face Mid-American Conference foe Ball State University and then there will be a journey to the Atlantic Coast Conference and the University of Virginia.
The Eagles will be back home at Rynearson Stadium Saturday afternoon October 30, 2010 against league arch-rival the University of Toledo.
The game with Vanderbilt University will be the fifth opponent from the mighty Southeastern Conference for Eastern Michigan University and the Eagles record is an unimpressive 0-4.
Last season the Eagles traveled into the Ozark Mountains and the home of the University of Arkansas, the Razorbacks celebrated Halloween by collecting the sweet-tasting 63-27 victory.
This will be the second meeting between the Commodores and the Eagles, the last time they seen each other was back on Sept. 27, 2007 and it was not a close contest, Vanderbilt defeated the Eagles 30-7. The only Eagle score came from the arm of Andy Schmitt who threw a 14-yard touchdown to Travis Lewis.
Vanderbilt University record against the Mid-American Conference is a respectable 9-3, the last time the Commodores faced a MAC opponent the Commodores came away with a 34-13 beating of the University of Miami Red Hawks from Oxford, Ohio which open up the 2008 football season.
Welcome Back!…Welcome Back!
Coming back home to Nashville, Tennessee is Vanderbilt University graduate Dr. Derrick Gragg who is employed by Eastern Michigan University as the athletic director.
A four year football player for the Commodores, Gragg played wide receiver and finished his career as a four year letter winner and 40 receptions for 646 yards with three touchdowns while playing for coach Watson Brown from 1988-91.
“It makes it even more special when you have one of your own coming,” Vanderbilt University football coach Robbie Caldwell said talking about this week’s opponent athletic director at his weekly press conference. “I am very proud of him. I met him a couple times since I have been at Vanderbilt and he is a very special person.”
Eagle Offensive Plan:
The Eagles have the ingredients to make big plays but a couple of things need to happen before the Eagles can sing the praises of success.
Eagle quarterback Alex Gillett will need to keep building his confidence by playing a solid performance game and limit the mistakes but for him to do that, he will need to get a good performance from the tailback Dwayne Priest. Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English is looking for a balance offense attack.
Defense Game Plan:
English’s goal for his defense is a multi-prong attack; he is looking for strength in the middle of his defense , he is also looking for smarter players who can stick to their assignments and he is looking to limit the number of penalties English feels there have been a lot drives continued because the defense can not provide a stop and force a punt.
Payers from Eastern Michigan University to Watch:
RB Dwayne Priest- The senior tailback rushed for 117 yards in a 31-17 lost to Ohio University last Saturday but for the Eagles to have any chance of success against the Commodores rushing defense that is ranked 105th in the nation allowing an average of 203.5 yards per game, Priest needs to have a strong and consistent night running the ball.
WR Kinsman Thomas is sophomore from South Carolina and he is the Eagles big play threat and if Priest can get the running game into a high gear then the balance of a good passing game should be able to take advantage of Vanderbilt’s pass defense which is ranked 30th in the nation.
Thomas leads the team with 319 receiving yards and four touchdown.
P Jay Karutz is averaging 39.5 yards per punt and that is good enough to place him 17th in the nation and the best punter in the Mid-American Conference.
PK Sean Graham who was successful on his first NCAA field goal Saturday afternoon against Ohio University. Graham lined up a 25-yard kick and hit the ball solid and it sailed through tying the score 10-10 against the Bobcats just before halftime.
Vanderbilt Players to Watch:
OB Larry Smith he is looking to make Vanderbilt’s offense feel better about themselves by taking advantage of the 119th ranked defense in the nation.
SS Sean Richardson is playing his best football of his career and will be keeping one eye in the backfield to come up and support the rushing defense but he will also be counted on to lend a helping hand in supporting the coverage of Eagles wide receiver Kinsman Thomas who knows about making big plays.
P Richard Kent punted the ball seven times last week against the University of Connecticut giving him an NCAA lead of 32 punts in the first four games.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.