By Charles Post / WLAA
The Eastern Michigan Eagles will travel to Lexington, Ky., to face the Kentucky Wildcats on Sept. 7 at 7:30 p.m. Both teams began their season with a victory as EMU defeated Coastal Carolina, 30-23, behind Mike Glass III’s 188 yards and four total touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats took on fellow MAC school Toledo, beating the Rockets 38-24. Kentucky totaled 422 yards in the victory.
Eastern Michigan is looking to pull off a major upset for the third year in a row as they beat Rutgers in 2017 and Purdue last September. EMU faced Kentucky two years ago and lost 24-20, but were in the game until the final minutes.
According to ESPN, the Eagles have a 7.7% chance to pull off the upset this time around.
“We’re putting together our plan but I’d rather not share. I know in a game like this, we have to take care of the ball, play smart and disciplined football. That gives us a chance,” said EMU head coach Chris Creighton on the weekly MAC conference call. “We took the ball away four times this past week so we have to do a good job in that. They (Kentucky) are really talented and a really good team so we have to be perfect to have a shot.”
Glass, who won Co-MAC West Offensive Player of the Week, was the catalyst for the Eagles in their comeback win over Coastal Carolina. After trailing 10-0 at the end of the first quarter, he helped the Eagles get back on track, outscoring the Chanticleers 30-13 in the final three quarters. He finished the game with 91% passing.
Terry Wilson, the Kentucky QB, was impressive as well. He threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns on 73% passing.
As for the Kentucky rushing attack, three different running backs carried the ball at least five times. Kavosiey Smoke led the team with seven carries, 78 yards, and a score. Asim Rose had the most rushes with 16 touches, totaling 64 yards.
The Eagles’ leading rusher was senior Shaq Vann, who finished with 108 yards on 22 carries for 4.9 yards per carry.
Keep an eye on both quarterbacks as well, as they have the ability to tuck and run.
On the defensive side of things, both teams allowed less than 400 yards in their season opener. Deandre Square, Joshua Paschal, and Calvin Taylor are impactful players on the Wildcats defense. Those three combined for 12 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and one interception.
Although Eastern Michigan gave up 304 passing yards to Coastal Carolina, they did force four interceptions and gave up just 74 rushing yards. Brody Hoying had three tackles and one pick in Week 1.
Toledo head coach Jason Candle discussed the Kentucky defense: “I think any time you get into games like this when you’re playing SEC games, it’s all in the defensive front. They’re a good team and a proud program and they weren’t going to let Toledo beat them. But I give a lot of credit to our guys for being in the game and we just didn’t make a couple of plays down the stretch.
“When you’re playing a lesser opponent, you might get away with stuff like that but not against a team like Kentucky.”
Charles Post will be covering EMU football this season for WeLoveAnnArbor.