The Mid-American Conference begins midweek football tonight as Ohio hosts Eastern Michigan at 6 pm ET on ESPNU. This will mark the first of six midweek football games during the month of November for the MAC.
Ohio Bobcats Notes:
FIRST AND 10
-Ohio welcomes Eastern Michigan on Thursday to take on the Eagles. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU.
-Ohio’s Thursday night meeting with Eastern Michigan is the Bobcats’ first midweek matchup of the year.
-In 2011, Ohio was 4-0 in midweek games.
-The Bobcats’ 7-1 mark is their best start to a season since 1968.
-Ohio had its eight-game winning streak snapped last week at Miami.
-The Bobcats rank fourth in the country in turnover margin.
-The Bobcats have won 13 of their last 15 games dating back to last season.
-Ohio running back Beau Blankenship has rushed for over 1,000 yards to become the eighth individual in school history to surpass 1,000 yards rushing.
-Ohio became bowl eligible for the sixth time in the last eight years following its 38-31 win over Buffalo on Oct. 6 and was the first team in the country to become bowl eligible.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
-A win over Eastern Michigan would give the ‘Cats their best record through nine games since 1968.
-A win over Eastern Michigan would mark the Bobcats’ 14th win in their last 16 games dating back to last season.
-Junior captain Tyler Tettleton is just 125 yards shy of moving into second-place on the school’s all-time career passing yards list.
-Tettleton is also just two completions shy of passing former Ohio QB Anthony Thornton for second all-time for career completions.
-Junior running back Beau Blankenship is just 40 yards shy of cracking into single season all-time top 10.
-Wide receiver Donte Foster is just one touchdown reception shy of cracking into the all-time top five for career touchdown receptions. He is currently tied for seventh all-time with 11 career receiving touchdowns.
OHIO - EASTERN MICHIGAN SERIES HISTORY
Ohio and Eastern Michigan will meet for the 29th time on Thursday night. The Bobcats hold the all-time series lead at 16-11-1. The first time the two teams met was on Sept. 4, 1976 with Ohio earning a 23-7 victory over Eastern Michigan. The last meeting took place on Oct. 2, 2010 in Ypsilanti. In that contest, the Bobcats defeated the Eagles 30-17. Ohio has defeated Eastern Michigan in seven of its last eight meetings.
SCOUTING EASTERN MICHIGAN
The Eagles (1-7; 0-4) enter the game after dropping a 24-3 decision at Bowling Green this past weekend. Eastern Michigan’s lone victory of the year came at home against Army as it defeated the Golden Knights 48-38. Bronson Hill leads the Eagles’ ground attack, rushing for 605 yards and six touchdowns. Quarterback Tyler Benz has started five games this season has thrown for nine touchdowns and 1,097 yards. Defensively, the Eagles feature the league’s second-ranked passing defense, limiting opponents to just 188.5 yards per game. Senior Bryan Pali ranks eighth in the MAC tackles, averaging 10.0 stops per game.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT LAST WEEK
-Ohio suffered its first loss since the 2011 Mid-American Conference Championship game where it fell 23-20 to Northern Illinois.
-Ohio’s setback to Miami is its first loss to the RedHawks since 2005.
-Senior kicker Matt Weller scored eight points, connecting on a pair of field goals and two extra points, to move into second all-time on the Mid-American Conference career scoring list. Weller passed former Northern Illinois kicker Steve Azar.
-Ohio was outgained 309-216 in the first half, but the defense responded in the second half, holding Miami to just 115 yards of total offense in the second half alone.
Eastern Michigan Notes:
The calendar says that the Eastern Michigan University football team's next game is in November, which signals the return of mid-week football throughout the Mid-American Conference. EMU remains on the road with a trip to Athens, Ohio, Thursday, Nov. 1, to square off against the Bobcats of Ohio University. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Peden Stadium.
The Eagles enter the Mid-American Conference cross-divisional contest with a 1-7 (0-4 MAC) record following a 24-3 setback to Bowling Green State University at Doyt Perry Stadium, Oct. 27. Meanwhile, the previously ranked Bobcats are 7-1 (3-1 MAC) after being upset by rival Miami University, 23-20, at Yager Stadium, Oct. 27. The contest will be nationally televised by ESPNU with Joe Davis providing the play-by-play and Jay Walker serving as the analyst. WEMU (89.1 FM) will provide audio coverage of the game with Matt Shepard and Herman Moore calling the action on the field.
ALL-TIME AGAINST THE BOBCATS: Ohio and Eastern Michigan will be meeting for the 29th time in school history. The Bobcats hold a 16-11-1 edge in the series, including winning the last four meetings dating back to the 2002 campaign. The Eagles' last victory over the Bobcats occurred Oct. 16, 1999, when EMU escaped with a 27-26 victory after the OU extra-point attempt was blocked with 1:06 remaining in the contest. Eastern Michigan's last victory at Peden Stadium was almost 18 years ago, Nov. 12, 1994, when EMU rolled to a 24-13 victory.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Eagles rank 11th in the nation in net punting at 40.86 yards per play and 19th in pass defense at 188.50 yards per game ... EMU has been strong inside the redzone, scoring on 88 percent of trips inside the 20 ... Eastern has scored touchdowns 63 percent of the time when inside their opponents' 20.
KARUTZ CONTINUES TO BOOT: Senior punter Jay Karutz currently boasts a per punt average of 43.4 yards, an average that, if the season ended today, would be the best in EMU history for a season. The North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia, native is tops amongst all Mid-American Conference punters and currently has 20 punts that have landed inside the 20-yard line and has nine punts of 50 yards-or-better including a career long 64-yard punt against Ball State University, Aug. 30.
YOUTH MOVEMENT: Eastern Michigan has played 11 “true” freshmen during the 2012 campaign. That amount is tied for 15th most nationally and third most in the Mid-American Conference. LSU, Ohio State and TCU lead the way with 15 first-year players having seen game action. Meanwhile, Akron is tops in the MAC with 13 freshmen and Miami is next with 12.
NO CUPCAKES: Playing football in the Mid-American Conference leaves little room for error. Just ask EMU Head Coach Ron English. EMU's strength of schedule is second-hardest in the Mid-American Conference and 39th nationally according to the NCAA's latest statistical release. EMU's 2012 opponents have a combined record of 43-35.
EMU DEFENSE TIGHTENS IN RED ZONE: The Eagle defense is holding its opponents to just 79 percent on their trips to the red zone. EMU's defense has allowed its opponents to enter the red zone on 33 drives, but has given up just 17 touchdowns and nine field goals. EMU ranks 44th nationally in red zone defense.
SLOW STARTS: Through its first eight games this season, EMU has been out-scored, 67-27, in the first quarter and has trailed after the opening quarter in five games. The Eagles have been shut-out in the first quarter in five contests, but have turned the tables to out-score the opposition, 64-61, in the second stanza.
POWER OF SEVEN: A total of 14 of EMU's 44 games under Head Coach Ron English have been decided by seven points-or-less. The Eagles are 5-9 in those contests.
JAY KARUTZ NAMED A RAY GUY CANDIDATE: For the second consecutive season, senior punter Jay Karutz has been named a candidate for the Ray Guy Award, bestowed upon the nation's best punter. The list will be narrowed to 10 semi-finalists to be announced on Nov. 9. Following the semi-finalists announcement, a national body of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) sports information directors, coaches, media representatives, and previous Ray Guy Award winners will vote for the top three finalists, who will be identified on Nov.19. The voting body will then cast ballots to select the winner.
SORGATZ CLIMBING THE EMU RECORD FOR STARTS IN A CAREER: After missing the Army game, Oct. 20, senior Andrew Sorgatz is on pace to finish third at the Eastern Michigan in terms of starts in a career. The Wheaton, Ill. native has started 41 of his 42 career games played at EMU. The EMU record for starts is shared by Daniel Holtzclaw and Andy Fretz with 47 starts.
ELITE COMPANY: Sophomore Bronson Hill turned in the then-best single-game rushing performance in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) this year with 283 yards gained on 28 rushes to go along with an EMU record-tying four touchdown runs against Toledo, Oct. 13. His rushing effort is the second best in school history, trailing only Larry Radcliff's 291 rushing yards, Oct. 16, 1971, at home against Eastern Kentucky.
HOSKINS NAMED MACKEY AWARD TIGHT END OF THE WEEK: Senior tight end Garrett Hoskins was named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week, Oct. 24, by the Nassau County Sports Commission. This marks the first time in Hoskins' career he has won the weekly honor and it is also the first time since the 2010 campaign that an EMU student-athlete has been selected for the honor. Ben Thayer captured the honor following EMU's 41-38 overtime victory at Ball State University, Oct. 16, 2010, when he recorded three receptions for 65 yards and a career-high two touchdowns.
The Grand Rapids, Mich. native recorded seven receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown as Eastern Michigan defeated Army, 48-38, for its first victory of the season. The 158 receiving yards established a new single-game career high for Hoskins. The game also displayed Hoskins' blocking ability as the Eagles rushed for 215 team rushing yards.
A THOUSAND AND COUNTING: After compiling just 2,370 yards of total offense through the first five games of the season, the Eagles busted out for a combined 1,201 yards in back-to-back contests with 624 against Toledo, Oct. 13, and 577 versus Army, Oct. 20. The Eagles used a balanced strategy of rushing and passing to reach that lofty two-game total, as 670 (55.8 percent) have been through the air and the remaining 531 (44.2 percent) on the ground. Sophomore running back Bronson Hill racked up 283 rushing yards with four scores against the Rockets to lead all rushers, while redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Benz threw for five touchdowns and 369 yards to dispatch the Black Knights.
EAGLES GET IT DONE NON-CONFERENCE STYLE: With a 48-38 triumph against Army, Oct. 21, the Eagles defeated a non-conference Football Subdivision (FBS) opponent for the first time since Sept. 10, 2005. That day, EMU rolled to a 31-10 home victory over Louisiana-Lafayette as Matt Bohnet racked up two passing touchdowns and a pair of rushing scores.
ON THE HORIZON: Following the Ohio game, Eastern Michigan returns home for a Saturday, Nov. 10, contest against Central Michigan University. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan will be meeting for the 90th time in school history. The Chippewas hold a 55-28-6 edge in the series, however, the Eagles have won five of the last eight meetings in the series dating back to the 2004 campaign. The series began in 1902 when CMU recorded a 10-0 shutout, Nov. 1.
The Green and White's last victory at Rynearson Stadium came Nov. 28, 2008, when quarterback Andy Schmitt guided EMU to a 56-52 upset of the MAC West Division Champion Chippewas. In that contest, Schmitt set one NCAA record and established five EMU marks on the way to completing 58-of-80 passes for 516 yards and five touchdowns to lead the Eagles to victory. Wide receiver Tyler Jones caught an EMU single-game record 23 passes for 170 yards. Those 23 reception mark tied UNLV's Randy Gatewood for the NCAA record. Additionally, EMU place-kicker Joe Carithers tied an EMU single-game record with eight PAT kicks.
BATTLE FOR THE MICHIGAN MAC TROPHY: Next Saturday begins the Eagles' chase for the Michigan MAC Trophy, which is given to the Michigan MAC university that defeats the other two schools in the same sport in the same regular season. In the event that no school defeats its other two rivals during the regular season, the Michigan MAC Trophy will remain with the winning school until one of the other rivals claims the title. Created in 2005 by the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, EMU currently holds the football trophy and Central Michigan has the basketball version.