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Kent State vs. Eastern Michigan Football Prediction and Preview

Kent State vs. Eastern Michigan Football Prediction and Preview

Kent State vs. Eastern Michigan (EMU) Prediction and Preview

The Eastern Michigan Eagles clinched bowl eligibility last weekend, and now they'll have to fend off the Kent State Golden Flashes, another MAC team hoping to do the same on Friday.

Eastern Michigan (6-5, 3-4) enters its final home game having already accomplished its biggest goal of the season. However, with a win Friday and at a bowl game — which the Eagles have yet to do under head coach Chris Creighton — EMU would have its highest win total since 1987.

Kent State (5-6, 4-3), meanwhile, has plenty riding on this game. Riding a two-game winning streak, just like the Eagles, Kent State is peaking at the right time to and already has its highest win total since the 2012 season, the last time it made a bowl game since 1973.

Kent State at Eastern Michigan

Kickoff: Friday, Nov. 29 at 12 p.m. ET


Spread: Eastern Michigan -5

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When Kent State Has the Ball

The Golden Flashes have a keeper in quarterback Dustin Crum, who has taken a giant leap forward in his junior season. Crum leads the conference in completion rate (67.7 percent) and quarterback rating (160.0), all while sporting an 18:2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Crum's development has also aided the rise of wideouts Isaiah McKoy (76.0) and Mike Carrigan (57.4) to the top-five in the MAC for receiving yards per game.

Crum is also the Golden Flash's leading rusher with 132 attempts for 509 yards. No running back has reached triple-digit attempts yet this season, but Will Matthews and Xavier Williams have shouldered most of the load the last few weeks. Eastern Michigan isn't particularly strong against the pass or run, but its strength comes from the 19 turnovers it has forced, which is tied for 25th nationally.

When Eastern Michigan Has the Ball

The Eagles have their own impressive quarterback in Mike Glass III, who leads the MAC with 247.2 passing yards per game. The senior played a little too loose earlier in the season with eight interceptions and 10 through six games, but he has no picks and just one sack in the last five games.

While Eastern Michigan might normally lean on Glass to lead them to victory, pass defense is one of Kent State's big strengths. The Golden Flashes hold opponents to 206.5 passing yards per game (42nd nationally), which may encourage the Eagles to hand the ball off more to Shaq Vann. Only UMass allows more rushing yards per game than Kent State's 260.8 mark.

Final Analysis

The battle between Mike Glass III and Kent State's secondary will be intriguing, but the Eagles' offense will likely prove to be too much to overcome. Kent State has struggled to produce the type of big defensive plays that they'll need to win this one on the road. Still, a five-win season has plenty to be proud of for the Golden Flashes.

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Prediction: Eastern Michigan 38, Kent State 30

(Top photo courtesy of @KentStFootball)