FACTS & STATS: Site: Doyt Perry Stadium (24,000) -- Bowling Green, Ohio. Television: BCSN, ESPN3. Home Record: EMU 1-3, BGSU 3-0. Away Record: EMU 0-3, BGSU 2-3. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, BGSU 0-0. Conference Record: EMU 0-3, BGSU 3-1. Series Record: Bowling Green leads, 23-11-1.
GAME NOTES: Fresh off their first win of the season, the Eastern Michigan Eagles look to make it two in a row when they visit Doyt Perry Stadium for a Mid-American Conference bout with the Bowling Green Falcons.
Eastern Michigan finally notched its first victory by defeating Army, 48-38, at home last week. The Eagles had not won a non-conference game against an FBS opponent since Sept. 10, 2005 prior to last week. Prior to the triumph over the Black Knights, coach Ron English's team pushed a very talented Toledo squad to the brink, but finished on the losing end of a 52-47 shootout with the Rockets. The Eagles try to carry that momentum with them as they go on the road for the first time in over a month this weekend.
Bowling Green shut out Massachusetts, 24-0, last week to achieve a four-game winning streak for the first time since 2009. The Falcons have been dominant during the course of the winning streak, outscoring their opposition 133-30 over that span. After his team started out 1-3 with a passing based offensive philosophy, coach Dave Clawson has made it a point to establish the run over the past four games. After experiencing two straight losing seasons, BGSU will be bowl eligible if it takes down EMU.
This will be the 36th meeting between these conference rivals BGSU holds a 23-11-1 advantage of the Eagles, but EMU picked up a 24-21 victory in the last meeting, at Doyt Perry Stadium in 2008.
Through its first five games, EMU managed only 263 yards and 15.4 points per game. The struggles seem to be over as the Eagles have tallied 95 points and 1,191 yards over their past two games.
Bronson Hill is becoming one of the most popular names in the MAC after coming out of nowhere to serve as the catalyst of the turnaround. Hill had never rushed the ball more than four times in a game in his career before compiling 283 yards and four touchdowns on 28 rushes against Toledo. The sophomore proved his outburst was not a fluke last week by picking up 185 yards and a TD on 26 carries. He also added 67 yards and his first-career touchdown catch to power the victory.
Tyler Benz also had a big game last week, passing for career-highs of 369 yards and five touchdowns, all to five different receivers. Benz also had personal highs of 19 completions and 31 attempts. The junior quarterback has been sensational since Hill's mid-season emergence.
Garrett Hoskins is the primary weapon in EMU's passing attack. His season totals of 30 receptions and 464 yards are more than double the combined statistics of the team's second and third leading receivers.
The Eagles' defense has struggled all season long, surrendering 510.4 yards and 39.4 points per game. The biggest concern for coach English has to be the rush defense, which ranks last in the FBS, as opponents are averaging 313.4 yards on the ground against EMU this season.
Donald Coleman and Bryan Pali are tied for the team-lead with 60 total stops. Coleman, who is an NC State transfer, showed his value against Michigan State with 19 total tackles. EMU needs its defenders to start making plays to improve its turnover margin, which is minus-0.43 per game.
The Bowling Green offense, which finished last in the nation in rushing in 2010, has been powered by its front line in recent weeks. The Falcons gained 850 yards rushing in their last four outings.
Anthon Samuel was held to 60 yards on 22 carries and had his streak of three- straight 100-plus yard rushing efforts halted by UMass last week. Look for the reigning MAC Freshman of the Year to get back on track in this one. Samuel has already surpassed the 1,500-career rushing yardage mark and has reached the century mark in nine of his first 17 contests.
Matt Schilz, who will be making his 31th career start and is coming off his fourth consecutive multi-touchdown game. The Falcons' signal caller completed 21-of-35 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns last week versus UMass. For his career, the junior has passed for 6,921 yards and 45 touchdowns.
Schilz lacks a clear favorite target this season as five different players have double digit receptions. Shaun Joplin (29 rec. 420 yards), Chris Gallon (29 rec., 304 yards), and Ryan Burbrink (29 rec., 240 yards) are three that have had their numbers called frequently.
BGSU's defense ranks first in the MAC in total defense (304.0 ypg) and in scoring defense (16.7) after four dominating performances in a row. The most impressive of which came last week when the Falcons shutout UMass, notched four interceptions, and held the Minutemen to only 118 total yards.
A big reason for the Falcons' success is senior DT Chris Jones. The veteran defensive lineman has 28 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and 9.0 sacks this season. Jude Adjei-Barimah is a big-time playmaker with a team-high three interceptions.
Hill and Benz have been cruising in their past two games, but they have a big road block ahead. Bowling Green's defense is not going to be caught off guard and is equipped to contain EMU. A Falcons' win is vital as they trail their next two opponents, Ohio University and Kent State, by one game in the East Division standings.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bowling Green 31, Eastern Michigan 21Game Date and Time
Saturday, October 27, 3:30 p.m. (et)