Teams: Eastern Michigan (2-1) vs. Kentucky (3-1)
Rankings: Eastern Michigan (#86 S&P+) | Kentucky (#63 S&P+)
Kickoff Time: 4 p.m. ET
TV: SEC Network
Watch Online: WatchESPN
Series History: First Meeting
Odds: Kentucky -14.5, o/u 50
Records ATS: Eastern Michigan (2-1) | Kentucky (2-2)
After last week’s demoralizing loss to Florida, Kentucky looks to rebound with a non-conference matchup against Eastern Michigan. The Eagles have not met Kentucky previously, but played at fellow SEC East foe Missouri last year (61-21 Mizzou) and also met LSU and Florida in recent years.
Four years ago, under then first year head coach Chris Creighton, Eastern Michigan became an internet meme with their sledgehammer vs. cinder block wall entrance.
While the execution of the entrance may have been lacking, Creighton institute the entrance while pushing to promote the Eagles as a blue collar team and their stadium as “The Factory.” To date, one has to say that he has been successful in injecting that passion into the football program.
The Eagles have improved from 121st in S&P+ in 2013 prior to Creighton’s arrival to 82nd in 2016 (only three places behind South Carolina) and 2016 marked their first bowl game appearance since 1987.
Eastern Michigan Defense
Befitting the blue collar mantra, the defense is the strength of the Eagles’ team. Through three games, the defense has only yielded two offensive touchdowns in regulation and is 12th in the country averaging six three and outs forced per game. To go along with that, the Eagles are +3 in turnover margin with five interceptions through three games.
With all due respect to the success of the Eastern Michigan defense, but Kentucky’s offense should also be the best that they have faced so far. With games against Charlotte, Rutgers and conference foe Ohio, Eastern Michigan has not exactly faced a murders row but has played well against the teams they have played.
All Name Team Quarterback
Eastern Michigan’s senior quarterback Brogan Roback is a three year starter. His numbers do not pop off the page with only a pair of touchdowns through the three games of 2017 while averaging around 265 yards per game but how could he not warrant a mention with the name Brogan Roback. Roback is also a weapon with his legs, but not as a running quarterback. He has taken about a third of EMU’s punts for the season and is averaging over 44 yards to punt so keep an eye on pooch punts if Eastern Michigan is in a position to play for field position.
Eastern Michigan are much improved from their 2014 team which was beaten 65-0 by Florida. Kentucky can not fall asleep at the wheel and should have a competitive game on their hands, but win by a few touchdowns.
Kentucky 34, Eastern Michigan 20