Eastern Michigan has had their first good season in ages to take on up and coming program Old Dominion in the 2016 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl.
Eastern Michigan Eagles
The Eagles have been one of the worst programs in the FBS, but have broken through to make a bowl game at 7-5. They have big wins over Wyoming, Ohio and Central Michigan. Eastern Michigan showed signs of struggle though, as they lost to Northern Illinois, a team they should have beaten.
Brogan Roback has thrown for 2,394 yards and 16 touchdowns for a less than stellar season. With only six interceptions on the season, he protects the ball well.
Roback has five receivers with over 300 receiving yards on the season, as he spreads the ball around. His best receiver, Sergio Bailey, has 799 yards and six touchdowns.
Ian Eriksen leads a rushing attack that features a lot of rushers. Eriksen has 741 yards on 4.2 yards per carry for six touchdowns.
The Eagles feature an average rush defense allowing 163 yards on the ground per game. Their pass defense though, is terrible allowing 271 passing yards per game.
Pat O’Conner is a leader on defense with 8 sacks on the season and will need to put pressure on the quarterback to elevate the rest of the defense’s play.
Old Dominion Monarchs
The Monarchs had a great season, finishing at 9-3. Their losses came to Appalachian State, NC State and Western Kentucky, who are all bowl eligible teams. Old Dominion’s only wins against bowl eligible teams though, are over Southern Miss and UTSA.
David Washington had one of the best years at quarterback of anyone in college football. Hehas 2,648 passing yards and 28 touchdown passes. The most impressive thing is his four interceptions thrown. His ability to protect the football, while still making plays is what makes him great.
Zach Pascal and Jonathan Duhart both have eight receiving touchdowns. Pascal picks up most of the yardage, with 893 receiving yards, giving Washington a great target.
The running game is led by Ray Lawry who has 1,122 yards, but his 11 rushing touchdowns don’t lead the team. Jeremy Cox leads the team in that category with 13, and added 685 rushing yards to go with them.
The run defense is average like Eastern Michigan, giving up 156 yards per game. Unlike Eastern Michigan, their pass defense is decent as well. They allow 220.3 yards per game through the air.
Anthony Wilson is a player to watch for on defense. He had 17 tackles against Southern Miss and has totaled five sacks on the season.
Washington will protect the football for the Monarchs, while the running game moves the chains on the Eastern Michigan defense. The Eagles’ offense won’t be able to keep up.
Old Dominion Monarchs 32 Eastern Michigan 21