Preview: Eastern Michigan at #2 Ohio State

By Jason Priestas on September 24, 2010 at 12:00p
We LOL'dI've taught you everything I know, Ron. Now go out there and lay down for Jimmy T.
Ohio State Buckeyes #2 Ohio State 3-0, 0-0 Big Ten Roster | Schedule 3:30 PM ET - ABC/ESPN —— Ohio Stadium Columbus, OH Ohio Bobcats Eastern Michigan 0-3, 0-2 MAC Roster | Schedule

Ron English brings his merry band of stanksters into the Horseshoe as 44ish point underdogs Saturday, and though my inner Holtz is urging me to write "anything can happen on any given Saturday", I just can't bring myself to do it. After taking over as head coach of the Eagles prior to the 2009 season, English has watched his team stumble their way to 15-straight losses, including last week's 52-14 pantsing at the hands of Central Michigan, an outfit fresh off a three point loss to Temple.

Just how bad is this team? The 0-12 2009 campaign included nine losses by double-digits, five of which saw EMU surrender 45 or more points. They did open 2010 on a little better footing, piling up a 285 rushing yards in a 31-27 loss to Army in the opener and then taking a tie into the fourth quarter against Miami in week two before eventually suffering a 28-21 defeat. Jim Tressel was kind in describing the shellacking against Central as a "step backward" last weekend, but we'll be a little more direct: this is a lousy team.

Couple that with English's lack of success against Ohio State as Michigan's defensive backs coach from 2003-05 (OSU: 2-1, 27.7 pts/gm) and defensive coordinator in from 2006-07 (OSU: 2-0, 28.0 pts/gm), and subsequent firing when Rich Rodriguez arrived (so he could hire Greg Robinson?), and the Eagles appear to be in for a rough afternoon.

Regardless, Eastern Michigan will gladly accept their $850,000 appearance fee, the Buckeyes will light up the scoreboard, hopefully working some kinks out, and we as fans, will try to make it through the second half without a) falling asleep, b) demanding to see more of our favorite youngster, or c) both.


Eastern Michigan enters ranked in the bottom third in the nation in both passing yards and rushing yards per game. Quarterback Alex Gillett (#8), one of the few signs of life on the offense, has decent, but not great numbers on the year: 34/59 for 350 yards, 4 TDs and 3 INT to go with 39 attempts for 172 yards and one touchdown on the ground. The dual-threat quarterback actually attended OSU's camp when he was younger, so the staff knows a little bit more about him than what they'd normally be able to glean from film. Backup Devontae Payne (#4), a redshirt freshman out of Cleveland South, saw the first meaningful time in his career at EMU last weekend, finishing 13/24 for 134 yards. At 6-6/231, he's a poor man's Pryor and could very easily see plenty of action Saturday if the game gets out of hand early.

On the offensive line, a mix of youth and experience helped pave the way to a 285 yard team rushing performance in the opener against Army. They haven't been able to sustain the attack, led primarily by senior Dwayne Priest (#22), as Central Michigan stuffed the unit for just 72 yards on the ground last week. Priest is a bit of threat catching swings out of the backfield and will likely see his number called more often than usual Saturday as EMU tries to handle Ohio State's front seven.

Yawning Room OnlyActually the 4th-largest crowd in Rynearson Stadium history.

Sophomore wideout Kinsman Thomas (#1) paces his group six receptions for 197 yards (32.8 average, yo) and two touchdowns on the year and has the size (6-2/205) and speed to challenge even the best defenses. Freshman Donald Scott (#17) caught two long balls against CMU and has also rushed four times this year, so look for him to provide wrinkles to the Eastern Michigan offense as they look for ways to get the former AAU All-American in the triple jump the ball. Senior Ben Thayer (#81) and sophomore Kyle DeMaster (#44) will see plenty of action in EMU's two tight end sets. Thayer actually leads EMU in receptions with 10 this season, so look for a lot of quick throws his direction (in addition to dumps to Priest and other backs).

The EMU defense is relatively mature, featuring six seniors and five juniors, but the experience is a bit misleading. Opposing offenses are averaging 414 yards per game, 253 of those on the ground, while converting 54% of their 3rd downs against the Eagles. Further, the group doesn't cause a lot of turnovers, recording just one interception and two fumble recoveries in their first three games.

Junior defensive end Javon Reese (#90) is worth keeping on eye on as he leads the Eagles in sacks (3.5) and TFLs (4), while senior linebacker Neal Howey (#40) currently leads EMU in tackles with 34. In the secondary, Louisville transfer Latarrius Thomas (#2) will do his best to patrol the secondary from the free safety spot and has the size (6-2/210) to deliver hits from the spot.

Sophomore punter Jay Karutz (#37) is currently averaging a shade over 44 yards per attempt, and return guy Corey Welch (#26) is good for 21.5 per kickoff return on the season, but the punt return group ranks 116th out of 119 FBS teams, registering just one punt return for -1 yards in 2010. As with most things EMU in 2010, some bright spots, but mostly spots representing chaos and awfulness.

Buckeye Breakdown

While the Eagles are bad enough to turn a barrage of Terrelle Pryor arm punts into a 40+ point loss, it's important for Ohio State to execute and not play down to the level of their competition. There are only so many football Saturdays each year and teams that want to be great do not waste any of them.

Much of the talk this week has centered on the lack of a running game in Columbus, with the Tressel calling designed runs at the lowest rate of his tenure at Ohio State and Pryor, once again, leading the team in rushing. Brandon Saine suffered what's being called a "turf burn" at practice earlier in the week, but is said to be 100% for Saturday. If he does play, he'll be looking to bounce from a rough couple of weeks that saw him pickup 55 yards on 24 attempts against Miami and Ohio. Boom Herron, the team's third-leading rusher, struggled himself last week, picking up just 27 yards on 9 attempts.

Jaamal BerryMOAR, PLZ

If the Buckeyes can execute early and take control of the game before halftime, we might get to see a healthy dose of both Jordan Hall and Jaamal Berry (currently averaging 5.1 and 9.4 yards per carry, respectively). I suppose in a perfect world, they'd each get ten or more totes because establishing some type of threat back there could be the difference between merely playing for crystal and actually taking it home.

Taurian Washington stepped up last weekend, catching both balls thrown his way, but Corey (Philly) Brown appears to still have the edge to capture the third wideout spot given that Washington didn't even see barely saw the field against the Hurricanes two weeks ago. Like, the rushing situation, getting a dependable third wide receiver would be a luxury, but not a necessity with the emergence of Jake Stoneburner at tight end.

Defensively, the group must continue to do what it's done all season: fly to the football, hit the opponent in the mouth and cause turnovers. Saturday should be a great opportunity to develop additional depth on the defensive front and in the secondary, especially in light of all the injuries suffered back there.


Evil Tressel comes out to get revenge on Eastern Michigan for going 4-1 against him at YSU in the mid to late 80s.

Ohio State 50, Eastern Michigan 0


Comments Show All Comments

Denny's picture

Totes want to see Hall and Berry get some totes.


Luke's picture

What about Hall & Oates :(

Buckeye in Athens's picture

My number one request too if the Vest were listening. 

Keith's picture

That picture of English cracks me up.

Matt's picture

Didn't we recruit Devontae Payne?  Or am I mixing him up with another Payne?  Or did Payne want us to recruit him and we did not?  These are payneful questions. <----ROFLCOPTER!!!!!111!!1!

goodlifesean's picture

Scenario 2 he wanted us. We didn't pursue him. Not really a runner though. Honestly looked like a pro-style QB. So a really poor man's Pryor.

Always prepare for and expect victory, don't brace for defeat. If defeat happens learn and never let it happen again.

RunTellMatt's picture

The 1st half line is -27!!!  I am staking my entire half my sportsbook account on us to cover this.  We've been very close to a shutout in two of three games so far, but this is the game we finally preserve that precious dog nut.  It should be 45-0 at half on the way to a 55-0 thumping.  The only real question is what I'm going to do with my winnings. 


Rollin' in it!


Shall I:

A.) "Make it rain" at the Cheetah Club

B.) Invest in children's education accounts

C.) Fullfill childhood dream and stage elaborate reproduction of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (I being Charlie, of course)

D.) Probably shouldn't count your eggs before they hatch, pal

E.) (Add your own in comments)

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

A, a thousand times, A

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

BuckeyeSki's picture

Frank Reynolds would like to remind you that it takes AT LEAST $1k to make it rain in any respectable stripclub

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

KenK's picture

How much to make it rain at a run-of-the-mill strip club?

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

BuckeyeSki's picture

It would depend on the C-Section scars ratio

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

again I say, Candy Store on Georgesville. Went there once, we were all drunk. We lasted about 10 minutes and left.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Denny's picture



SouthBayBuckeye's picture

respectable strip club, HA! Candy Store on Georgesville Rd???? can make it rain there with roll full of nickels.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

KenK's picture

Does that include the antibiotics?

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

tampa buckeye's picture

id wait til before kickoff to place that bet. weather could change.  but A is my choice.

tomcollins's picture

Love the O/U at 28.5 for the first half with the spread being -27.


BigRedBuckeye's picture

This did not pan out well...

And we'll drink to old Ohio, 'Til we wobble in our shoes! 

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

i busted out laughing at the EMU "4th largest crowd" guys never fail to cheer a man up

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

Poe McKnoe's picture


Someone needs to round up coaches like Ron English and Dave Wandstedt and take them out of their misery.

BTwrestle04's picture

I like Wandstache...

Matt's picture

Taurian Washington did see time during the Miami game, he just didn't get any balls thrown his way.  In fact, Taurian's presence telegraphed the play call pretty well during the game.  Tressel has a habit of putting Taurian out wide and then running the speed option towards Taurian's side of the field.  T-Wash is without a doubt the best blocking wideout, so they like the security he provides in sealing off the boundary.

BigRedBuckeye's picture

100% noticed this and agree. He was beastly blocking during the Rose Bowl. Noticed it during one of my rewatches. 

And we'll drink to old Ohio, 'Til we wobble in our shoes! 

Jason Priestas's picture

It appears you're right. I was at the game and don't recall seeing T-Wash, just plenty of Philly Brown.  Further, the participation report in the box score the university released after the game -- the one I used to make that statement -- does not include Washington, though it appears they subsequently updated that to reflect his activity.

I do agree on his blocking merits. It really stood out in the Rose Bowl.

btalbert25's picture

Is the line really 27?  Wasn't it 44 the other day?  That is a gimme.

Matt's picture

The halftime line is 27.

btalbert25's picture

oh ok, that makes much more sense.

EJ's picture

Hall and Berry didn't carry at all against Miami, by FAR the best defense we've seen so far.   That does skew their ypc a bit.  Still I'd like to see them too. 

buckeyedude's picture

The downfall of the Eastern Michigan program started when they changed their mascot from the Hurons to the "eaglets." Let that be a lesson to Central Michigan, Florida State, the Washington Redskins, etc.