Huskies hope for at-home improvement


Quarterback Jordan Lynch scans and prepares to launch the ball downfield during Saturday’s game against Central Michigan.

By Frank Gogola

With the Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-6, 0-3 MAC) coming into town 2:30 p.m. Saturday, football (7-0, 3-0 MAC) has a good chance to dominate at home for the first time this season.

The No. 18 Huskies have not played particularly well at home this season, winning their two home games by an average of 5.5 points, compared to 15.8 points on the road.

“We need to come out at home and really put on a show for the fans,” said redshirt senior quarterback Jordan Lynch. “[We’ve had] two sellouts in a row. The last two home games we haven’t shown our best, so we need to play four quarters of football.”

The Eagles have given up 42-plus points in five of their seven games this season and 50-plus points in three of their last four games. The 42.3 points per game allowed by EMU is the fourth-worst in the NCAA.

Eastern Michigan’s offense has not been much better. Its 19.7 points scored per game is 106th out of the 123 Football Bowl Subdivision teams. And the 26.6 points allowed per game by NIU’s defense is fifth-best in the MAC.

“… I know their record doesn’t reflect it, but they run the ball, boy,” said head coach Rod Carey in a news release. “So we have to stop that run and get them into obvious pass-down situations and see if we can’t get after the quarterback a little bit.”

The Eagles are sixth in the MAC with 161.3 rushing yards per game. With inconsistencies in the Huskies’ secondary, the Eagles may flip the script and come out throwing.

“I feel like their tight end [Tyreese Russell] and running back [Bronson Hill] are real good ballplayers,” said senior safety Jimmie Ward. “We’re coming back off a big win at Central Michigan … so I feel like we’ll come out with a lot of confidence going into this game.”

The Huskies will play at home for only the third time this season.

“Overall, it’s going to be a challenge,” Carey said in a news release. “I can say this, I would expect another sellout, and I’m not afraid to say that from our fans and from our community around here….

“We have yet to play our best ball at home. It’s only our third time in eight games to be at home and hopefully we have some familiarity now with home being the third time, and we need to put our best foot forward in this game for ourselves, for this university and also for our fans. I think we’re all looking forward to that.”