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De'montre Tuggle (#24) fighting for the first down during todays game at InfoCision Stadium on October 2, 2021 (FILE)

Football: Ohio vs. Eastern Michigan gameday guide

Ohio is back on the road Tuesday when it travels to Ypsilanti, Michigan, for its game against Eastern Michigan. 

The Bobcats (2-7, 2-3 Mid-American Conference) are fresh off a 35-33 win over rival Miami and are looking to build off the few successes from their second win of the season. The Eagles (6-3, 3-2 MAC) have scored a combined 107 points against their last two opponents and have the best scoring offense in the conference.

Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. at Rynearson Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Below is a guide to game day with how to follow along, depth charts, what to watch for, who has the edge, a reading guide and our prediction:

Following along

How to watch: Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN2. Matt Shepard and Rob Rubick will have the call.

How to listen: Ohio’s game can be heard on the Ohio Sports Network from Learfield. Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will be behind the mic per usual.

How to find stats: Stats are provided here.

Depth Charts

Provided from each team’s game notes.

Ohio Offense

ohioweek10offense.png
Provided via Ohio Athletics.


Ohio Defense

ohioweek10defense.png
Provided via Ohio Athletics.


Ohio Special Teams

ohioweek10specialists.png
Provided via Ohio Athletics.


Eastern Michigan Offense

emichweek10offense.png
Provided via Eastern Michigan Athletics.


Eastern Michigan Defense

emichweek10defense.png
Provided via Eastern Michigan Athletics.


Eastern Michigan Special Teams

emichweek10specialists.png
Provided via Eastern Michigan Athletics.


Three things to watch for

Ben Bryant’s dominance in the air

The Eagles are nothing without Bryant under center. The senior has passed for over 2,000 yards through nine games, completed 13 passing touchdowns and connects with his receivers 69.3% of the time. Bryant’s abilities have boosted the Eagles to the second-best passing offense in the conference, behind only Central Michigan.

Ohio’s defense gave up 492 passing yards to Miami quarterback Brett Gabbert last week and over 200 passing yards per game against MAC opponents. Bryant is leagues above Gabbert in terms of passing and will give Ohio fits come Tuesday night.

Eastern Michigan’s defensive line

Ohio has two big problems to handle on Eastern Michigan’s defensive line. Jose Ramirez and Turan Rush have a combined 13.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, the two most on the team in either category. In Eastern Michigan’s game against Toledo last week, Ramirez sacked quarterback Dequan Finn twice for a loss of seven yards.

Ohio’s offensive line is still riddled with injury and is only in the first stages of reincorporating linemen like Nick Sink and Brody Rodgers. Since conference play began, both quarterbacks, Kurtis Rourke and Armani Rogers, have been sacked nine times. If the offensive line has another off night, Ramirez and Rush will tear through them.

Ohio utilizing its receiving corps

Since its game against Kent State, Ohio has leaned in toward incorporating its passing game further into the offense. Ohio has recorded more than 250 passing yards in each of its last two games after passing for 325 yards against Akron, Central Michigan and Buffalo combined. 

Wide receiver Isiah Cox made six receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns against Miami. He’s returned to a productive role after missing two games earlier this season and receives more time as the season carries on. 

The edge

When Ohio has the ball: Rourke outperformed himself in his past two games. He’s passed for over 250 yards in each since subbing in for Rogers against Kent State and hasn’t shied away from utilizing as many receivers as he can. Against a hardened Miami defense, Rourke completed passes to nine different receivers and passed for three touchdowns. Combined with running back De’Montre Tuggle’s average of 6.7 yards per carry since MAC play began, Ohio has a solid opportunity to crack a middling Eastern Michigan defense.

The edge: Ohio

When Eastern Michigan has the ball: Bryant is the lynchpin on offense, of course, but the Eagles also maintain a solid rushing corps led by Jawon Hamilton, Darius Boone Jr. and Samson Evans. The trio have picked up almost 1,000 yards collectively on the ground this season, and Evans has nine rushing touchdowns. Ohio’s defense gave 26 unanswered points in the second half against Miami. It won’t be forgiven as easily by the top-scoring offense in the MAC.

The edge: Eastern Michigan

Reading Guide

Predictions

Sports Editor Jack Gleckler: Eastern Michigan is the top scoring offense in the conference for a reason. Its quarterback is one of the best in the MAC, and its ground game isn’t shabby, either. Ohio’s offense has picked up since MAC play began, but I’m not convinced it’ll be enough to keep up with Bryant and the rest of Eastern Michigan’s dominant scoring game. Eastern Michigan wins 41-28.

@thejackgleckler

jg011517@ohio.edu

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