YPSILANTI — Let me tell all of my nieces and nephews that your old Uncle Mel is worried and concerned about the Eastern Michigan University football program after what he witnessed under a big and bright full moon at Ball State University.
The first game of the season, on the road in Indiana and a Mid-American Conference opener what could have been more anticipated or challenging to a program that is trying to pull themselves up by their collective boot straps and reach for greatness but only to disappoint themselves, the coaching staff and the fans of Eastern Michigan University football.
Your old Uncle Mel felt sorry for Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English and tried to reach out as a friend that is a supporter of his philosophy but after the showing that the Eagles demonstrated -English was not in the mood to be friendly.
Eastern Michigan University fell hard against Ball State University 37-26 last Thursday night, Aug. 30, at Scheumann Stadium in front a respectable gathering of 12,175 Cardinal fans.
Now, it is not the fact that the Eagles were beaten but it is how they were crushed by the Cardinals that has both English and your old buddy Uncle Mel concern-the Eagle defense never showed up!
English and the Eagle followers both have such great expectation for this year’s team because after the improvement and the giant stride that this program made last season-it just feels natural.
English felt like, despite a couple of question marks in the defensive backfield that the defense would be the strength and give the Eagles a personality.
Instead the Eagles were pushed around and off of the line of scrimmage, they missed assignments and they would miss tackles-this sounds and looks all too familiar to Uncle Mel.
Uncle Mel knows that Cardinal tail back Jahwan Edwards is a good running back and he is to be respected even though, he fumbled twice, he was still able to carry the ball 20 times and gain 200 yards and Edwards score three touchdowns with runs of 3,7 and a sprint of 75 yards.
Could the Eastern Michigan University defense introduce the two other superstars in the Cardinal backfield along with Edwards to Uncle Mel and the rest of the Eagle football fans was that Barry Sanders or Earl Campbell running over and through the Eagles.
No, it was just Horactio Banks and some guy name Barrington Scott coming off the bench and into the game licking their chops and ready to gain yardage against a beaten down and lifeless Eastern Michigan University defense.
“I really felt like our offensive line took control of the game in the second half,” Ball State University football coach Pete Lembo said. “I’m very proud of how we ran the ball.”
Both Banks and Scott carried the ball 14 times for the Cardinals and even Cardinal quarterback Keith Wenning ran into the act on the field with six carries.
Banks rushed for 67 yard and scored when he found daylight through the Eagles defense for an 8 yard run into the end zone.
Scott gained 57 yards which does not sound or look like a lot but Scott is the third choice from the bench for Lembo!
The total of yardage that the Cardinals accumulated against the Eagles’ defense a staggering 596 yards which is eye-popping in it self but the Cardinals averaged 6.2 yards on offense and that is the reason for the concern at the Convocation Center and inside English’s office.
“We didn’t stop the run and if we don’t stop the run we don’t give ourselves a chance and I don’t think we played with any energy for whatever the reason,” English said outside the Eagles locker room at Scheumann Stadium. “I thought when we had a chance to take control in the second quarter we were lifeless, We have to get that fixed.”
English did not know and did not want to elaborate or speculate to Uncle Mel about the reason of the lack of emotion or lifeless, Uncle Mel wanted English to talk about what he saw in the second quarter instead it was a quick snap about English had all ready addressed the issue-so much for Uncle Mel trying to be understanding and try to help.
Saturday afternoon, Sept. 8, at the friendliest football stadium in the Mid-American Conference and it is where the Eagles call home-Rynearson Stadium. Eastern Michigan University will open up the home portion of the 2012 schedule by hosting Illinois State University from the Missouri Valley Conference.
The defense better be prepared, because this is another team that boast a strong ground game and a tailback that is good enough to make Eagle fans and Uncle Mel to forget about Edwards and his explosion of 200 yards.
Carrying the bulk of the running game for Illinois State is Darrelynn Dunn and when he needs to rest the Redbirds send in Cameron Hunt, both backs help Illinois State University defeat the University of Dayton, 56-14 at home in Hancock Stadium.
Uncle Mel thinks that the Eagles can’t overlook this team or take the Redbird lightly they are ranked No.19 in the Football Championship Subdivision-this will be a test for the Eagles.
English is hoping that the lost at Ball State is a fading memory and that the Eagles are ready to move forward and take a giant step toward respectability.
“We have to gain respect by playing every minute and making every second count!” English said.
Uncle Mel and the fans of Eastern Michigan University football will need a little more convincing like a win against Illinois State University before worrying will subside.
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.