Michigan-Eastern Michigan Preview: Wolverines Roll To Third Straight Win

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Michigan-Eastern Michigan Preview: Wolverines Roll To Third Straight Win
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

As the college football schedule progresses, there have always been games seen as "trap" games. It was initially thought that Western Michigan would be one of those games in 2009.

Michigan blew them out 31-7.

WMU's Mid-American Conference sister, Eastern Michigan, also plays at the Big House this season.

Expect a similar, if not bigger advantage for the Maize and Blue.

Eastern Michigan, in its first season under former Michigan assistant Ron English, is a program definitely in the rebuilding phase. The Eagles seem headed in the right direction with a committed coach such as English, but don't expect big results as he mans the unfamiliar side of the field this Saturday.

The Eagles are 0-2 and have already allowed 34 first half points and 485 rushing yards total in just two games.

Here is what I see playing out of the field this Saturday as the two schools from Washtenaw County face off:

 

Michigan with the ball

I expect the Wolverines to run the ball early to try and control the clock. Brandon Minor looked very good against Notre Dame and as the Eagles give up 5.0 yards per carry, Michigan should try and rough up the EMU defense early with the run.

Tate Forcier should be able to spread the ball around and be able to run with the ball as well. Look for the coaches to get Denard Robinson more looks and snaps as this game could be out of hand early.

Eastern Michigan's defense has just one player with a sack this season and they'll have trouble containing Forcier all day.

Michigan's offense has been unbelievable in the first couple of games and with a weaker opponent like Eastern Michigan, I don't see them letting off the gas, especially with the first conference game against Indiana just around the corner.

The Wolverines have ran for over 200 yards in both games this season and that will continue in the third game. I predict Minor racks up 100 yards in the first half and Forcier continues to garner Freshman of the Year votes.

 

Eastern Michigan with the ball

The Eagles have a trio of seniors on the offense that should prove to keep them in a few games this season and might help them win a few shootouts.

One won't be against the Maize and Blue, however.

Quarterback Andy Schmitt has logged a lot of playing time for the Eagles and set several EMU records last season, but he should struggle against the Wolverines like WMU quarterback Tim Hiller did on Sept. 5. Schmitt could rack up a lot of yards playing from behind, but also expect a few interceptions as he tries to make something happen.

Schmitt's top target is fellow senior Jacory Stone who already has hauled in 15 passes for 158 yards and one touchdown in 2009.

The last member of the trio of seniors is Dwayne Priest, who has notched 210 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games for the Eagles. He could get loose for a run or two, but don't expect him escaping into the secondary.

Brandon Graham, Stevie Brown, Obi Ezeh and others could have a field day on this offensive line and could make a few

If the Eagles are to stay in the game, they need to get turnovers from the defense and Schmitt needs to play a perfect game and find numerous targets for scores.

 

Intangibles

Michigan is playing at home for the third straight game, and while Eastern Michigan is also playing in its own back yard, they are certainly not used to a crowd in the estimates of 110,000.

Eastern Michigan has a flair for the dramatic, as they pulled off a 56-52 win against MAC powerhouse Central Michigan in the season's finale last year. It proved to be just their third victory of the season.

Even with that, however, that certainly won't happen to Michigan in its own stadium coming off a big victory over rival Notre Dame. Toledo was a much better team last season than people thought and Eastern Michigan has no shot at being this season's Toledo.

 

Prediction: Michigan gets a double-digit lead early and puts it on cruise control as Denard Robinson sees a little action in the second half. I don't expect a shutout, as Schmitt can put it up there with the best of them, but 50 points is not out of the question for a suddenly clicking Maize and Blue offense. Rich Rod welcomes in Indiana next week with a 3-0 record and brimming confidence.

Michigan 45, Eastern Michigan 13

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