Week 1 Preview: Eastern Michigan vs. Howard
It only took nine months. But friends, football season is finally here.
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And just like that, my friends. All it took was nine, long months. Nine months later, after patiently waiting through the cold of winter and the heat of summer, the weather has finally turned back to perfect. Nine months after a bucket of delicious french fries were dumped on the head coach in celebration of a football game out in the mountains, the reason to believe has returned. Nine months of filling my time with other dumb hobbies can finally end with the sound of toe meeting leather.
Football season is back.
Eastern Michigan’s season opener is this Friday against Howard, and it’s been a very, very long time since the vibes have been as good as they are around EMU at this point. While EMU didn’t end up in the MAC title game, it still ended up with a 9-win season and a bowl game — the type of year this school hadn’t seen in 35 years. College football understanders around the country get it: Chris Creighton’s job at EMU has been nothing short of historic and praise-worthy. That bowl win was a long-time coming for a coach like him at a place like Eastern Michigan.
But inside EMU’s walls, last year’s season was a disappointment all because of one, costly finish at home. EMU had the lead in the fourth quarter against Toledo until it didn’t, and it cost them the division title. Eastern wound up winning all four of its games afterward, but none of them were for the MAC title.
On Friday, Eastern’s marathon shot at redemption begins.
This will be Larry Scott’s fourth year with Howard since being hired as the team’s head coach in February 2020. The 46-year old is from Florida and played O-line at USF in the late 1990’s. After four years of coaching in high schools then seven years at his alma mater, Scott’s big coaching jump came in 2013 when he became the tight ends coach and run game coordinator at Miami (FL) for three years, and was even named the interim head coach in 2015 when Al Golden was fired at that post. As the interim coach, the Canes went 4-1 before it lost 20-14 to the late Mike Leach’s Washington State Cougars in the Sun Bowl.
After Miami, Scott was a tight ends coach and offensive coordinator for Tennessee, spent another two years coaching Florida’s tight ends, then Howard came calling. In his first season — which was played in the spring of 2021 and is totally worth writing off because of the pandemic, his Bison team went 0-2 playing just one team (Delaware State) in February and April. In his first two real seasons with his team, the Bison finished with 3-8 (1-4 MEAC) then 5-6 (4-1 MEAC) records.
It’s been a while since Howard’s fielded a winning team. The last time that happened? Back in 2017 under first-year head coach Mike London: 7-4 overall with a loss to Kent State (38-31). Before that? It was in 2012 when Gary Harrell, current assistant head coach at Colorado, brought Howard to a 7-4 record — his peak season.
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