EMU Football: Eagles look to win at Toledo for first time in 20 years

The Eastern Michigan Eagles (4-3, 1-2) are heading south to face the Toledo Rockets (4-3, 1-2) at the Glass Bowl Stadium in Toledo on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 3:30 p.m. The winner will stay alive in the MAC West race, while the loser will be virtually eliminated from competing for the division title and a shot at the MAC championship at Ford Field on Dec. 7.

Eastern Michigan has two quarterbacks who could get the start as senior starter Mike Glass III is questionable for the game against Toledo after sitting out last weekend versus Western Michigan. In the win over the Broncos, Glass’ backup Preston Hutchinson played incredibly well, totaling 357 yards and three touchdowns on 86.1% completion rate.

“Every guy in our program mattered all week. I’m really proud of our effort and our will. It’s never perfect but I’m proud of our execution,” said EMU head coach Chris Creighton. “We’re trying to get Mike (Glass) healthy, but we know we have a really good quarterback in Preston Hutchinson. He took advantage of the opportunity on Saturday night.”

Toledo is in a similar spot as starter Mitchell Guadagni didn’t play against Ball State last Saturday as the Rockets lost 52-14 after getting down 38-0. In his place was Carter Bradley. Bradley struggled for much of the game, totaling just 137 yards on a 41.2 percent completion rate. The Rockets are averaging just 17.3 points in their last three games.

Creighton touched on Toledo’s season to this point: “We’ll get them at the best they’ve been all season. That’s a very good and proud team. They were 3-1 going into MAC play. They played really well against Western. We’re going to play a great football team that will be more motivated than they’ve probably been in a long time.”

Something positive for the Eagles is that senior running back Shaq Vann returned last week after missing the majority of the season. Vann led the team in rushing with 97 yards on 17 carries. He was spelled by Breck Turner, who added 17 yards on the ground. Vann’s return has once again made the Eastern Michigan offense balanced.

“Very productive. He was really good. It was so good to have him back. It’s not just how he was running and the catch he made,” said Creighton. “He just had a maturity about him during the game. It probably really helped out Preston (Hutchinson). He’s been there before. He not only played like it but he acted like it.”

It’s tough to tell who has the advantage going into this game as both have question marks at quarterback. From what we saw last week, it seems like Eastern Michigan has the superior backup between Hutchinson and Bradley. If those are the starters, the Eagles have a very good chance of winning their first game at Toledo since 1999.