Big Ten: Eastern Michigan Eagles

Video: Penn State-Eastern Michigan preview

September, 6, 2013

Josh Moyer talks about what to look forward to in Penn State's home opener against Eastern Michigan.

Video: Matt McGloin lifts Penn State

September, 24, 2011
Matthew McGloin threw three touchdowns and the Penn State Nittany Lions welcomed coach Joe Paterno back to the sideline with a 34-6 win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
I'm not surprised Ohio State has scored 38 points in the first half.

I'm somewhat surprised the Buckeyes have allowed 14.

Quarterback Terrelle Pryor is having another huge day, both with his arm and his feet, as Ohio State leads Eastern Michigan 38-14 at halftime. Pryor had a seemingly effortless 53-yard touchdown run to put the Buckeyes on the board. He also has hooked up with receiver Dane Sanzenbacher eight times for 100 yards and three scores. Junior wideout DeVier Posey gets most of the attention for the Buckeyes, but Sanzenbacher is having an outstanding season so far. I'm guessing Ohio State would like to get its running backs going a little bit more in the second half.

Ohio State's defense has shut down the Eastern Michigan run game, but Eagles quarterback Alex Gillett is finding some room to pass the ball. Gillett has one touchdown pass and set up another.

I can't imagine Jim Heacock is too pleased right now.

Big Ten lunch links

January, 18, 2010
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Happy MLK Day to all.

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Michigan has issued its injury report for Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan.

  • Guard David Moosman (shoulder)
  • Guard Tim McAvoy (knee)
Michigan gets a boost from Hemingway's return. He and freshman quarterback Tate Forcier had great chemistry in the season opener against Western Michigan, hooking up for two touchdowns. Moosman is a starter, so his absence hurts a bit after he sustained a separated shoulder last week against Notre Dame.

John Ferrara likely will replace Moosman against Eastern Michigan, and redshirt freshman Elliott Mealer also could be in the mix at guard.

Michigan also announced its game captains for Eastern Michigan: wide receiver Jon Conover, defensive end Brandon Graham, kicker Jason Olesnavage and wide receiver LaTerryal Savoy.

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

In a move that will delight the Mid-American Conference and could draw mixed reviews from Spartan Nation, Michigan State has reached a long-term scheduling agreement with the three MAC schools located within state lines -- Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan. 

Billed as the Celebrate the State Football Series, Michigan State will play 12 games against the directional Michigan schools during the next 10 years.

The agreement includes road contests against each MAC team, beginning in 2012 with a trip to Central Michigan. The Spartans have never visited Central Michigan or Western Michigan and last played a MAC team on the road in 1899. 

"I'm not sure if there's another school in the country or another conference in the country taking this approach," Western Michigan athletic director Kathy Beauregard said.

There are obvious financial gains for the MAC schools in this deal, and while Michigan State could draw some criticism, the Spartans aren't shying away from the big boys. Michigan State will continue its series with Notre Dame and play both Alabama and West Virginia in the coming years.  

There will be some heat for playing the MAC, but almost every Big Ten school does it and both Central Michigan and Western Michigan are respectable programs, while Eastern Michigan is starting fresh under coach Ron English. 

The return of the MAC

August, 4, 2009

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Excuse the Mark Morrison reference, but it's time to take a peek at the Mid-American Conference heading into the 2009 season. Whether you want to admit it or not, Big Ten fans should have some interest in the MAC because of the scheduling relationship the two leagues share. 

Big Ten teams play 14 games against the MAC this fall, including two for Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue. No league appears on the schedule more often than the 13-team MAC, which notched four victories against Big Ten squads in 2008. 

The MAC held its media sessions last week in Detroit, and Central Michigan once again got the nod as the league's preseason favorite. Colleague Graham Watson has all the details.

Let's take a look at the MAC preseason poll. 

West Division
1. Central Michigan (154 points)
2. Western Michigan (126)
3. Northern Illinois (103)
4. Toledo (71)
5. Ball State (58)
6. Eastern Michigan (34)

East Division
1. Buffalo (155 points)
2. Temple (144)
3. Akron (128)
4. Ohio (116)
5. Bowling Green (101)
6. Kent State (51)
7. Miami (33)

MAC Championship Game
Central Michigan (18), Western Michigan (4), Buffalo (2), Temple (2)

Of all the Big Ten teams, Michigan State gets the toughest draw against the MAC and will host both Central Michigan (Sept. 12) and Western Michigan (Nov. 7).

Penn State's soft schedule is well documented, but the Lions do face two of the higher rated MAC East teams in Akron (Sept. 5) and Temple (Sept. 19). The MAC West division looks much stronger to me, and teams like Purdue and Wisconsin should watch out for Northern Illinois. Northwestern gets off very easy, facing the two teams picked to finish last in their divisions (Eastern Michigan and Miami).

An interesting note: Five MAC teams welcome new head coaches this year.

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

As the last line of defense, Michigan's cornerbacks and safeties have a heightened sense of accountability. 

There will be times this fall when Donovan Warren or one of his secondary mates either must make a play or watch six points go up on the scoreboard. But first-year defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has crafted a scheme that minimizes the plays when a defensive back gets left alone on an island. 

After a season when Michigan's defense often felt deserted, it's a welcome change for Warren. 

"Coach Robinson's all about playing to your help and not just playing your game alone," Warren said. "You have to play to your help. That's what defense is all about."

Warren, a true junior who enters his third season as a starter, will be playing in his third defensive scheme this fall. Fortunately, Robinson's system reminds him of the one employed by former coordinator and current Eastern Michigan coach Ron English, who remains very popular with veteran Wolverines defenders.

Like the rest of the team, Michigan's back four struggled last season, finishing ninth in the league in both pass defense (230 ypg) and interceptions (nine). Warren is one of the Big Ten's most-experienced cornerbacks, but he'll be surrounded by youth this fall. Michigan loses corner Morgan Trent and safety Brandon Harrison, and safety Stevie Brown has moved down to linebacker this fall.

"We have a lot of unproven guys and guys that haven't been on the field," Warren said.

If Robinson's system works correctly, Michigan's young players won't be feeling green too often.

"It's using your leverage and knowing where your help is and what guys can do to you in certain situations," Warren said. "Coach Robinson, he breaks it down so much more mentally, so you know what to expect." 

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

After some extensive mixing and matching, Northwestern's 2009 nonconference schedule has been finalized. It turns out the Wildcats will play the same four teams they originally scheduled, but three home games will be on different dates.

Here's the rundown:

  • Sept. 5 vs. Towson
  • Sept. 12 vs. Eastern Michigan
  • Sept. 19 at Syracuse
  • Oct. 10 vs. Miami (Ohio)

The Syracuse game is the lone contest to remain in its original spot. Northwestern was set to open against Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 5, host Towson on Sept. 12 and host Eastern Michigan on Oct. 10. But things got muddled when Miami and Kentucky began discussing scheduling a Sept. 5 contest at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. 

Miami dropped a Sept. 12 home contest against Colorado, which will play Toledo instead on Sept. 11. Towson also had to reschedule a Sept. 3 game against Morgan State. 

"We were able to accommodate Miami's request to make a scheduling change in our season-opening game while protecting our three home nonconference dates, which was a critical element in these discussions," Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips said in a statement. "To be certain, thanks to all the schools involved, along with the Mid-American Conference.

"We know many of our fans had already built their fall calendars around our home football schedule. Fortunately, we still get to play the three same opponents, just on different Saturdays now."

According to Northwestern, outgoing Mid-American Conference commissioner Rick Chryst was instrumental in getting the schedule snafu figured out. The Wildcats open Big Ten play Sept. 26 against Minnesota and visit Purdue before finishing the non-league slate against Miami (Ohio). 

The full schedule can be found here

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Northwestern rounds out today's schedule snapshots. I'll take a look at the final four Big Ten teams on Wednesday.


Sept. 5 Miami (Ohio)

Sept. 12 Towson

Sept. 19 at Syracuse

Oct. 10 Eastern Michigan

My take: The Wildcats are pushing Penn State for the Big Ten's easiest nonconference slate. All four teams had losing records in 2008, and all four welcome new coaches for this fall. Northwestern will be favored in every game and has a good chance of running the table for the second straight season after failing to do so from 1964-2007. The team will be breaking in a new offensive backfield, as quarterback Mike Kafka steps in alongside a mystery man at running back. This could present some problems, but Northwestern returns nine starters on defense and should be able to subdue the competition. Though Northwestern gets a much needed scheduling upgrade in the coming years, it should be in good shape for another bowl berth with this lineup.


Sept. 26 Minnesota

Oct. 3 at Purdue

Oct. 17 at Michigan State

Oct. 24 Indiana

Oct. 31 Penn State

Nov. 7 at Iowa

Nov. 14 at Illinois

Nov. 21 Wisconsin

Byes: Michigan, Ohio State

My take: The league slate also sets up favorably for the Wildcats, who skip an Ohio State team that has dominated them for decades and face Penn State at home. The road schedule isn't easy, but Northwestern has won consecutive games at both Michigan State and Iowa. A strong start to league play will be critical, and the opener against Minnesota likely will go a long way toward determining Northwestern's fate. The Wildcats need some positive momentum going into a tough three-game stretch beginning with Penn State on Oct. 31. For the first time since 1998, Northwestern won't end the Big Ten season against Illinois.

Early schedule snapshot: Michigan

February, 10, 2009

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Michigan finalized its 2009 schedule last week with the addition of Delaware State. Here's a look at what the Wolverines face this fall. 


Sept. 5 Western Michigan

Sept. 12 Notre Dame

Sept. 19 Eastern Michigan

Oct. 17 Delaware State

My take: Not to dwell on the obvious, but this isn't the most challenging slate. Michigan faces two MAC teams, a middling FCS squad and Notre Dame, which could enter the season in the Top 25 but hasn't been able to run the ball since 2006. Though the group might not excite Michigan fans, it provides a team still transitioning to a new regime the opportunity to gain some confidence. Western Michigan beat Illinois last year and should provide a good test in Week 1. If Michigan wins its first season opener since 2006 and knocks off Notre Dame the following week, it should be in good shape for a bowl game. Given the question marks that remain after a 3-9 season, the Wolverines should benefit from this type of schedule.


Sept. 26 Indiana

Oct. 3 at Michigan State

Oct. 10 at Iowa

Oct. 24 Penn State

Oct. 31 at Illinois

Nov. 7 Purdue

Nov. 14 at Wisconsin

Nov. 21 Ohio State

Byes: Northwestern, Minnesota

My take: Michigan must defend the Big House this season, both in nonconference play and during the Big Ten slate. Indiana and Purdue both are must-wins for the Wolverines, who will have a rough time with defending Big Ten co-champs Ohio State and Penn State. The road schedule isn't easy, but Michigan has won nine consecutive games at Illinois (last loss came in 1983) and three straight at in-state rival Michigan State. October won't be easy, but if the Wolverines pull out a win or two, they should be in position for a bowl game. 

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

The Mid-American Conference currently has four head-coaching vacancies, as Toledo, Bowling Green, Miami (Ohio) and Eastern Michigan all are looking for men to lead their football programs. 

With Buffalo's Turner Gill and Ball State's Brady Hoke already being mentioned for BCS-conference jobs, more coaching turnover seems likely.  

Given the Big Ten's proximity to the MAC, it's inevitable that several Big Ten assistants will be mentioned for top jobs. 

Here's a look at several coaches who might get calls in the coming days and weeks. 

Michigan State offensive coordinator Don Treadwell

Treadwell played and coached at Miami (Ohio), and he figures to be one of the top candidates for the RedHawks' coaching vacancy. Miami athletic director Brad Bates said many of the successful men who made up the "Cradle of Coaches" were Miami alums. Treadwell has extensive experience as an assistant, working in the Big East, Pac-10 and ACC. He's also likely in the mix at Eastern Michigan. 

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke Fickell

An up-and-coming young coach, Fickell will be one to watch in the coming seasons. The Toledo Blade listed him a potential candidate for the Bowling Green vacancy, and he should be in the mix for all the MAC openings. The former Ohio State nose guard spent two years coaching in the MAC (Akron, 2000-01). Fickell might be holding out for a BCS-conference job. 

Iowa wide receivers coach Erik Campbell

Campbell has been mentioned as a candidate at Eastern Michigan, which would be a natural fit for a man who spent 13 seasons down the road as a Michigan assistant. He developed a 1,000-yard wide receiver in eight consecutive seasons at Michigan and did a nice job developing Iowa's wideouts, particularly Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, as the season progressed. Campbell also recruits the Detroit area. 

Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi

He earned his Master's degree from Miami (Ohio) and served as an assistant coach there from 1990-92 and again in 2003. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio made it clear before the season that the Spartans' defense belongs to Narduzzi, who saw improved results this fall as the team went 9-3. He should get a look at Miami (Ohio), Toledo and possibly Bowling Green or Eastern Michigan.

Michigan State tight ends/offensive tackles coach Mark Staten

Another Miami (Ohio) grad who could draw interest for the RedHawks' coaching vacancy. Staten played at Miami from 1989-92 and was a graduate assistant there in 2001. He also serves as Michigan State's recruiting coordinator, an area that has improved markedly in the last year. 

Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson

The only assistant coach Rich Rodriguez retained at Michigan could be in the mix for the Eastern Michigan job. Jackson has served as a Michigan assistant since 1992 and knows the area extremely well. He coached five All-Big Ten running backs with the Wolverines.

Rodriguez looks ahead to 2009 season

November, 25, 2008

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez held his post-mortem news conference Monday and addressed many of the issues on his growing to-do list for the 2009 season. He does expect more attrition on the roster but not a dramatic amount of departures. So far wide receiver Zion Babb, defensive tackle Jason Kates and safety Artis Chambers have left.

Still, he admitted not everyone has committed to the plan and the direction.

"As far as buying in, I think the majority of them have," Rodrgiuez said. "But there is a handful that still maybe question things themselves, maybe their confidence, their role, how they can contribute. And I think that's typical everywhere in a transition year. But it wasn't as much as maybe I thought. But, again, until it's a hundred percent, then you don't know what you have.

"Everybody, as we move forward, will be guys that play for Michigan first and foremost and believe in this program and this university, and if not, then they won't be playing for Michigan. It's as simple as that."

After his "get a life" comment was overblown in the days leading up to the Ohio State game, Rodriguez was asked whether he'd be more tight-lipped in the future. Thankfully, he doesn't plan to become Lloyd Carr Part II.

"It's a big boy world," he said. "So I understand that. I've been there for a little bit. It does make you I guess want to be a little more reserved at times. That's not my personality. I want to be open and honest and transparent I guess is the proper word. We'll be that. I'll continue to be that. Doesn't mean I don't get ticked off when somebody writes something that ain't true. That's what happens."


Other notable items from the news conference included:

(Read full post)

Big Ten internal affairs

September, 10, 2008

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Injuries are cropping up around the league, and coaches are shuffling pieces to try to find the right fit. Here's a look at five key issues in the Big Ten.

Minnesota -- Just when the Golden Gophers found a viable running threat, they received news that Duane Bennett tore his ACL against Bowling Green and will miss the rest of the season. Coach Tim Brewster will audition three players -- junior Jay Thomas and freshmen Shady Salamon and DeLeon Eskridge -- at the running back spot in hopes of identifying a featured back. The Gophers need more than one capable runner, but Brewster doesn't want a rotation there. Though Thomas has by far the most experience, Eskridge and Salamon are listed behind Bennett on this week's depth chart.

Michigan State -- The Spartans apparently no longer have cornerbacks or safeties, just general defensive backs. Before the season, coach Mark Dantonio moved starting corner Kendell Davis-Clark to safety after projected starter Roderick Jenrette took a leave of absence. Dantonio now is considering switching another starting cornerback, Ross Weaver, to safety after Davis-Clark sustained a shoulder injury against Cal and missed last week's matchup against Eastern Michigan. Davis-Clark is listed as day-to-day but didn't appear on this week's depth chart for Florida Atlantic.

Ohio State -- Cornerback Donald Washington returns from a two-game suspension Saturday against USC (ABC, 8 p.m. ET), but the two-year starter might not retain his job. Ohio State likely will platoon Washington and sophomore Chimdi Chekwa, who has started the first two games. Coach Jim Tressel also seems intent on keeping Jermale Hines in the mix, possibly at nickel back. Hines should get decent playing time Saturday because the Buckeyes don't know whether linebacker/safety Tyler Moeller will be able to play after suffering an injury.

Michigan -- Redshirt sophomore Perry Dorrestein likely will make his season debut as the Wolverines' starting left tackle Saturday at Notre Dame after Mark Ortmann dislocated his elbow last week. Dorrestein previously had backed up Stephen Schilling at left tackle. Michigan already is without two guards who went down with injuries before the season. Coach Rich Rodriguez expects Bryant Nowicki and true freshman Patrick Omameh to fill in behind Dorrestein on the left flank.

Penn State -- The still-unresolved suspensions of starting defensive linemen Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma and the season-ending injury to Jerome Hayes leave the Nittany Lions in a bit of a bind. Both the end and tackle positions have depth issues, and end might be a greater concern as Penn State doesn't have much behind Josh Gaines and Aaron Maybin. One possibility would be moving true freshman Jack Crawford from tackle to end, though Paterno is leery about Crawford's inexperience. If Crawford switches, it puts more pressure on keeping Jared Odrick, Ollie Ogbu and Tom McEowen healthy.

A look back at the Week 2 picks

September, 9, 2008

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Another decent week of picks, which comes as no surprise given the Big Ten's shoddy competition. I hoped to be a little more accurate, and my lack of faith in an improved Minnesota team prevented perfection. Few foresaw the troubles Ohio U. gave Ohio State, and Penn State continues to exceed early season expectations.

Week 3 provides a much tougher test for Big Ten players, coaches and prognosticators. But first, here's a review of the picks from last week.


  • My pick: Ohio State 45, Ohio 7
  • Game result: Ohio State 26, Ohio 14
  • 20-20 hindsight: Seriously, who saw this coming? Put your hand down, Frank Solich. The Buckeyes came out flat on offense without star running back Chris "Beanie" Wells and could have been in some serious trouble if not for special-teams heroics from Shaun Lane and Ray Small and big plays from star defenders. Ohio's team speed was noted during my pick, but it became a bigger factor than most envisioned.


  • My pick: Wisconsin 40, Marshall 13
  • Game result: Wisconsin 51, Marshall 14
  • 20-20 hindsight: Star tight end Travis Beckum didn't play after Badgers coach Bret Bielema said he would, but quarterback Allan Evridge still got going after a slow start and passed for 308 yards. Evridge hooked up with reserve tight ends Lance Kendricks and Garrett Graham for 167 yards. As expected, Marshall presented some first-half problems for Wisconsin, jumping to a 14-0 lead, but the Badgers' attack countered in a big way.


  • My pick: Illinois 52, Eastern Illinois 3
  • Game result: Illinois 47, Eastern Illinois 21
  • 20-20 hindsight: Ron Zook isn't the only one a little ticked at the Illinois defense, which hasn't consistently stopped the run. The Illini might pay the price in the Week 3 picks. At least Juice Williams had my back with 174 rushing yards and two touchdowns, eclipsing his own school record for rushing yards by a quarterback.


  • My pick: Michigan State 42, Eastern Michigan 14
  • Game result: Michigan State 42, Eastern Michigan 10
  • 20-20 hindsight: The most accurate pick of the week, and probably the easiest to make. Eastern Michigan's defense was no match for Spartans senior running back Javon Ringer, who rushed for five touchdowns in the rout. Quarterback Brian Hoyer had a much better performance (8-of-12 passing), and wideout B.J. Cunningham matched rising star Mark Dell in production.


  • My pick: Michigan 27, Miami (Ohio) 6
  • Game result: Michigan 16, Miami (Ohio) 6
  • 20-20 hindsight: The Wolverines' offense didn't perform to expectations behind redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Threet, who retains the starting job this week. Fortunately for Rich Rodriguez, his veteran defense came up with the save and knocked Miami starting quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh out of the game in the fourth quarter. And a Michigan running back did step up as freshman Sam McGuffie had 74 rushing yards.


  • My pick: Iowa 44, Florida International 10
  • Game result: Iowa 42, Florida International 0
  • 20-20 hindsight: Iowa's offense continues to surge and evidently the defense deserves a little more love after allowing just three points in the first two games. I was wrong about Jake Christensen locking up the starting quarterback job, as sophomore Ricky Stanzi seems to have staked his claim there. As expected, another big game for Hawkeyes running back Shonn Greene (130 rush yards, TD).


  • My pick: Purdue 41, Northern Colorado 0
  • Game result: Purdue 42, Northern Colorado 10
  • 20-20 hindsight: It sounds nitpicky to harp on a 32-point win, but I expected more from Purdue, and evidently so did coach Joe Tiller. Quarterback Curtis Painter was his normal superb self and senior Desmond Tardy emerged as a potential No. 2 wideout behind Greg Orton. But the defense allowed 22 first downs and didn't force a turnover against a Northern Colorado team picked to finish last in the Big Sky Conference.


  • My pick: Penn State 38, Oregon State 30
  • Game result: Penn State 45, Oregon State 14
  • 20-20 hindsight: Daryll Clark, Evan Royster and the Nittany Lions punished an Oregon State defense that can't stop the run. As forecasted, Clark ran much more this week, racking up 61 yards and a touchdown on just five carries. It's a little surprising Lyle Moevao and the Beavers couldn't do more against a Penn State defense missing two starting linemen, but right now everything is clicking in Happy Valley.


  • My pick: Indiana 45, Murray State 10
  • Game result: Indiana 45, Murray State 3
  • 20-20 hindsight: Marcus Thigpen must be reading the blog. I know fellow Hoosiers running back and blogger Bryan Payton does. Thigpen provided the rushing spark Indiana needed with 100 yards and two scores on just seven carries. Star pass rusher Greg Middleton only picked up one sack, but the defense looked very strong in the blowout.


  • My pick: Northwestern 30, Duke 21
  • Game result: Northwestern 24, Duke 20
  • 20-20 hindsight: This one figured to be close, though Duke dominated the stat sheet and would have won with a clutch play or two. Wildcats running back Tyrell Sutton rushed for two touchdowns but had a much smaller impact than forecasted after experiencing leg cramps in the second half.


  • My pick: Bowling Green 38, Minnesota 34
  • Game result: Minnesota 42, Bowling Green 17
  • 20-20 hindsight: Props to the Gophers for proving me a fool, especially regarding their defense. Minnesota forced five turnovers and capitalized with a huge second half. Quarterback Adam Weber performed as expected, completing 21 of 25 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for a score.

Bye: None

Season record: 19-2