EMU Football: Eagles look to clinch bowl eligibility versus Northern Illinois on Tuesday

The Eastern Michigan Eagles will travel to face the Northern Illinois Huskies on Tuesday, Nov. 19 in DeKalb, Ill. Eastern Michigan is just one win away from becoming bowl eligible for the third time in four years and they have two games to go in the regular season. EMU is playing their second mid-week game in a row after defeating Akron on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

“Our seven day week doesn’t really change. We’ve had some six day weeks and a five day week so you do have to adjust but our guys are used to that kind of thing,” said EMU head coach Chris Creighton. “They’ve been in the MAC. That’s how it rolls. We’ll be ready next Tuesday night.”

The Eagles are led by senior quarterback Mike Glass III, who seems to be healthy again after battling injuries for the last month or so. He has 2,237 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions on the season. Northern Illinois will look to put pressure on Glass and make him make throws out of the pocket. If Glass can do that successfully, the Eagles will have a chance to win.

Shaq Vann’s production will also be key for EMU. The Eagles are at their best when their offense is balanced, just like it was last Tuesday versus Akron. Vann ran for a game-high 142 rushing yards and four touchdowns against the Zips. EMU will be in great shape if he can rush for 100+ yards for the second consecutive game.

Creighton discussed Vann and running game: “I’ll say this about Shaq, he’s really leading well. You can just see it in his eyes. He’s playing good football right now and he’s leading well. We’ve really stayed healthy on the offensive line and that’s really been a blessing. We’ve been really fortunate with that. Mike was really clean the other night without any sacks.”

On the other side of the ball, the EMU defense has to focus on stopping big plays. In almost all of their losses, the Eagles have given up long touchdowns and they can’t afford that against the Huskies. Northern Illinois has a lot of talent on the offensive side in quarterback Ross Bowers and running back Tre Harbison.

The Huskies are led by Bowers, who played at California from 2015-2018. He has compiled 2,140 yards, seven touchdowns and eight picks through 10 games in his first year with the Huskies. Harbison is one of the top running backs in the conference and will likely carry the ball 20 times. He has 899 yards and eight touchdowns so far this season.

“We’re playing a red hot team, the most dominant team in our league for a long time. In my five seasons, we have lost to them every time,” said Creighton. “The last three have been in overtime and it’s the only team we haven’t beaten in the MAC. We’re going to their place. We have to do something that we haven’t done before. That’s what our full concentration is on.”

According to ESPN FPI, EMU has a 34.5% chance to win.