Game of the Year of the Week: Tuesday MACtion in Akron
EMU's in a Can't Lose situation as it travels to Akron for some midweek college football.
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Week 11 Football Preview: Eastern Michigan at Akron
Tuesday, Nov. 8 (CBS Sports Network, 7 p.m.)
Another week, another game with Absolutely Cannot Lose This One-sized stakes at play. This time, we’re playing things out on a Tuesday.
Mathematically, Eastern Michigan (5-4 overall, 2-3 MAC) is still in the MAC West hunt. The problem right now is that EMU had its chance to be in the driver’s seat of the division, but blew a fourth-quarter lead against Toledo at home in its last game with a final score of 27-24.
“We didn't over-hype or over-sell it,” EMU coach Chris Creighton said Monday last week when he reflected on the Toledo loss. “Everybody knew they could control their own destiny in the MAC West and so they knew how important it was, but it was not like it was life and death.”
It’s true (or at least I hope it’s true) that the morbid outcome of anybody’s life was at play over an Eastern Michigan football game (historically a bad bet), but nobody asked the football coach to figure out life-and-death situations in the first place, just figure out some football solutions for a very mediocre MAC program.
We can all agree that this is just college football after all. No, this isn’t life and death, but there are winners and losers in this sport.
Against Toledo, EMU had the ball with the lead twice in the fourth quarter that started from their own 28 and 29-yard lines. In those drives, nothing: 10 plays, 2 punts.
With all three timeouts, EMU took over again after Toledo took the late lead. In the two-minute drill, EMU’s offense picked up… 8 yards. On fourth down and short, EMU’s play was for Powell to throw to Darius Lassiter down the right sideline on a hitch, come hell or high water, and the pass would go incomplete. Toledo’s corner would not be fooled.
With 58 seconds left, EMU got its fourth possession of the quarter, but from its 12-yard line. Doesn't matter where EMU’s drive would start from, really, because four plays in, Powell threw the game-sealing interception to Toledo safety Maxen Hook.
Creighton said there’s nothing to worry about because, mathematically, the loss didn’t suddenly take EMU out of the hunt for good. He led the press conference off by saying that the Toledo finish was the most disappointed he and his team have felt after a regular season loss in his tenure. It’s up there with the Quick Lane and Camellia bowl losses.
In the presser, Creighton said it was a “Top 3” disappointment loss, and later that “there's zero assumption that things aren't heading in the right direction.”
That was the sound of this program taking Akron football (1-8 overall, 0-5 MAC) very, very seriously.
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