Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
Go back a few years, and the Eastern Michigan Eagles were pretty much all about running the football. Not so much now, but the Eagles were be meeting somebody today who truly loves running the football. Sophomore Leonard Fournette is ranked third with 631 yards on 73 carries through three games. That's an 8.6 yards per carry clip. His long is 71 yards and he has eight touchdowns on the year.
Fournette is suiting up against a team that is ranked last (128th) among FBS teams in defending the run. The Eagles are surrendering 373.3 ypg to opposing rushers.
Add in the fact that Tiger Stadium is one of the toughest places to play in the nation abd the words "perfect storm" come to mind.
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Like Toledo in the MAC, Louisiana State's first game (McNeese State) was cancelled, but the Tigers own victories in all three contests since then. Two of the wins wee against Top 25 teams: No. 25 Mississippi State (21-19) and No. 18 Auburn (45-21).
Last week, Louisiana State knocked off Syracuse, 34-24. Fournette became the first LSU back to run for 200-plus yard in consecutive games with a career-high 244-yard (two TDs) performance. He's be shooting for three against EMU.
The Tigers were only up 7-3 at the half against Syracuse, but they outscored the hosts 17-7 in the third period thanks to a pair of big plays. Tre'Davious White returned a punt 69 yards for one score. Fournette kicked in the jets for a 62-yard TD run.
LSU outgained the 'Cuse 425-281, with the majority of yardage coming from the ground game. Sophomore Brandon Harris completed 8 of 16 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown, while Malachi Depre was the only Tiger receiver with more than one catch. He had four receptions for 73 yards and one TD.
EASTERN MICHIGAN (1-3, 0-1 MAC)
For what it's worth, defending Fournette should be at least a little different that what the Eagles faced last week. Army brought its option offense to town, which can be a diffent kind of rushing challenge.
The Black Knights are fourth in the nation in rushing and average 294.5 ypg through the ground game. They rolled up 556 rushing yards against EMU in a 58-36 victory over the Eagles. It was the first win of the season for Army, which had been knocking at the door in three previous close losses. The Black Knights also picked up their first true road victory since 2010.
Eastern Michigan, which had the ball for just over 18 minutes, did manage to put up 36 points. Quarterback Brogan Roback, who got hit third start following the injury loss of Reggie Bell in Week One, completed 27 of 39 passes for 280 yards and two scores with one interception.
Darius Jackson rushed for 141 yards on 16 carries and tallied two TDs. Eddie Daughterty turned five catches into 109 yards and a touchdown. Dustin Creek and Shaq Vann combined for 14 receptions and 82 yards.