Of course not!
We’re not quite into individual team season previews yet, but MAC Reporter Online is starting a series highlighting individual and team numbers to watch. This installment features Eastern Michigan.
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The Eagles managed just two wins in 2014. They also had two long losing streaks – four games after winning the opener and six games to finish the season. Stringing some wins together and lengthy win draughts would be a step forward in 2015.
- 13 –
If any number underlines the EMU struggles last year, this is it. The Eagles finished 13th (last) among MAC teams in BOTH scoring offense and scoring defense. Suffice it to say, that sewed up last in total offense and total defense. When it comes to scoring and yardage, there is nowhere to go but up, unless … nah, that won’t happen.
- 137.8 –
The Eagles have hung their offensive hats on the run game for some time now, but if you are going to finish last in passing offense, then you need more than 137.8 yards per game in rushing offense.
- 12 –
Eastern finished 12th in time of possession in 2014, holding onto the ball for an average of 26:31 seconds. Granted, time of possession isn’t always a true indicator of problems. Bowling Green was last, while UMass and Northern Illinois were at spots 10 and 11. The difference is that those other teams had very productive offenses with quick-strike capabilities. Eastern doesn’t fit that mold, so developing an offense that can sustain drives would be helpful in taking some pressure off the defense.
- 12 (Again!) -
The Green and white were 12th in sacks with 12 in 12 games. Only Kent State (9) had less.
- 30 –
The Eagles totaled 30 turnovers (19 fumbles, 11 interceptions). Turnover margin has a high correlation with success, and EMU was last with a net -1.50 per game. The next lowest was -0.50 (UMass).
Freshman quarterback Reginald Bell completed 36 of 49 passes for 409 yards in a late-season loss to Ball State. He also racked up 101 yards on rushing on 18 carries against the Cardinals. Bell also went over the century rushing mark in two other games, including 202 yards in a win over Buffalo.
He was notably inconsistent, but Bell certainly flashed enough talent to give Eagles fans hope for more in 2015.
- 3 –
Junior linebacker Great Ibe finished third among MAC tacklers, averaging 11.1 stops per contest with a total of 133.
- 7.5 –
Junior lineman Pat O’Connor was second in the league in sacks (7.5). He was sixth in TFL (14).
- 1 –
Then-senior Kevin Johnson led defensive backs in tackles (8.8 tackles per game). Freshman Jason Beck was seventh with 7.2 per contest.