The Eastern Michigan Eagles make the long trip west to San Diego for a meeting with the San Diego State Aztecs on Saturday night. Eastern Michigan were the bottom of the barrel in college football for over a decade. Before going to the Bahamas Bowl in 2016, Eastern Michigan hadn’t been to a bowl since 1987, which accounts for their only postseason win in school history. They came close in the Bahamas Bowl, a 24-20 loss to Old Dominion.
The Eagles were just happy to be going bowling, though, so that along was a major accomplishment for a program that were lucky to win 1 or 2 games in a year. Eastern Michigan have already notched a marquee win this season, as they upset the Purdue Boilermakers by a score of 20-19. The defense frustrated a decent Boilermaker offense who didn’t come prepared at all.
It’s easy to look at Eastern Michigan’s poor history and not take them seriously. The Big Ten and MAC pretty well play in the same backyard, so Purdue was well aware of how bad the Eagles have been over the years. Now with that win under their belt, teams might take them a little more seriously. The Eagles head to California with a record of 2-1. Their other win came over Monmouth in Week 1 and the loss last week as they opened MAC play against Buffalo.
San Diego State have a loss as well, but their loss came against some heavier competition. The Aztecs have a 31-10 loss on their resume, though that came against Stanford, a team that is going to give other teams issues all year long. I was on the Cardinal in that one and the result wasn’t much of a surprise. San Diego State responded with wins over Sacramento State and Arizona State. The Sun Devils were coming off a win against Michigan State, so that isn’t a bad win for San Diego State. The running game ran wild for 311 total yards. Juwan Washington, Rashaad Penny’s replacement, galloped for 138 yards. He’s already at 452 yards and it’s only September 22nd. Eastern Michigan must find a way to hold him back. Head below for our free Eastern Michigan vs. San Diego State pick.
Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. San Diego State Aztecs NCAAF Betting Odds:
Eastern Michigan +12(-110)
vs. San Diego State -12(-110)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Eastern Michigan vs. San Diego State Pick:
While Eastern Michigan still aren’t ready to compete for a MAC Championship, this team was absolutely embarrassing about ten years ago. Teams just had to snap the ball and don’t trip over themselves and they’d win convincingly. Their competition at least have to prepare and work for what they want. Eastern are probably going to be good for a bowl game this season as well. The defense has especially made major strides forward.
They allowed 23.7 points per game last season, and have allowed 23.6 points per game thus far, so how’s that for consistency. Eastern Michigan have particularly been good against the pass. They were 1st in the MAC a season ago, with just 190.3 yards allowed per game. With a lot of talent who came back in 2018, their defense is not going to be a problem in the MAC.
Against San Diego State will it be a problem, though? Like I just said, they were dominant defending the pass. However, that was not the case when the Eagles were faced with stopping the ground game. Eastern allowed an average of 173.3 rushing yards per game for 78th in the nation. It’s been more of the same for the Eagles in 2018, as their offensive line has failed to generate a good push.
They are 116th with an average of 230.7 yards allowed per game. Look for Washington to have another big game on the ground. Chase Jasmin who ran for 112 yards against Arizona State should have a productive game, too. This should open the passing game up for Ryan Agnew. Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson passed for 325 yards and 3 touchdowns on Eastern last week.
The Aztecs finished 11th defensively in 2017 with 304 yards allowed per game. They gave up only 18.4 points per game, which combined with a running game led by Rashaad Penny, they were a tough out. Their aggressive defense is back again this season and have gotten off to a nice start. They had Stanford right where they wanted them, but Stanford eventually wore the Aztecs out. Trying to contain Bryce Love, which they did a nice job of, and worrying about K.J. Costello throwing it over top is a daunting task. They held Arizona State to just 43 yards rushing last week. The Eagles are 108th in the country thus far with 127.3 rushing yards per game.
Mike Glass has been steadying the Eagles’ offense at quarterback this season. He’s done a nice job limiting turnovers, as he’s thrown for 4 touchdowns, rushed for 2, and no interceptions. Glass isn’t a guy who can just go out there and throw the ball around 40 times, though. The running game sets his arm up. However, the Aztecs are unlikely to allow the Eagles to get much on the ground.
It’s asking a lot to ask of Eastern Michigan to travel out west and play what is a 10:30 game on their body clocks. We saw what happened to Michigan State in the later stages of their game against Arizona State. They were weak and tired and didn’t have much left to give. San Diego State are a physical bunch that aren’t going to let up. They likely pull away in the 4th quarter to secure a 30-14 or 35-17 win in San Diego.