Ypsilanti, MI – Prior to the season, Eastern Michigan's coaches and players broke from their ususal "one game at a time" mantra to highlight one game on the 2004 schedule: Saturday's Mid-American Conference matchup against Central Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit (4:15 p.m. on 89.1, WEMU).
"It's a great opportunity. We're going to make it like a bowl experience," head coach Jeff Genyk said Tuesday. "I've talked a lot about how this parallels our recruiting strategy. We want to build this team with southeast Michigan players, Detroit metropolitan players, and Detroit (Public School League) players."
EMU saved this date for 30 of its top recruits to make an official visit to the program. Genyk said 25 of Saturday's recruits are from local high schools. The coaching staff will also host a reception for area coaches prior to the game. The biggest recruiting boost, though, would come if EMU is able to sweep its Michigan MAC foes.
"Beating Western Michigan allows us to have some credibility," Genyk said. "For us to come out and win both these games would be quite a statement."
The Eagles have not swept WMU and CMU since 1986.
A winning conference record is a much more immediate goal for EMU (3-5, 3-2 MAC) than a successful recruiting season.
"If we can close out and beat Central Michigan and Kent State and then have a ranked team come in here in Northern Illinois, it will really provide a good springboard into the off-season," Genyk said. "It would be a great way to send out our seniors."
Click on the audio icon above to hear Coach Genyk's comments.
Run Game Runaround: EMU struggled to just 45 yards on 27 carries against Bowling Green. Starting Anthony Sherrell continues to battle leg injuries, but may practice this week, as the Eagles try to revive the running game.
"With Anthony being banged up and us getting behind Bowling Green, we really didn't establish (the run)," Genyk said. "Anthony should be 100 percent (against CMU), and we are hopeful that he'll have a breakout game."
Finish it off: Genyk cited EMU's six dropped passes and three turnovers as disappointments following Saturday's loss. But he was pleased with the defense's ability to recover from 12 missed tackles in the first half. EMU held the Falcons offense to 10 second-half points.
"On the first two drives, they were (tentative). Bowling Green was able to keep us off-kilter. Our guys were so anxious to deliver big hits that we were out of control some times. We kind of calmed down and said 'Let's just secure the tackle.'"
Quick Hits: More than 30,000 tickets have been distributed for Saturday's doubleheader, which includes Division II teams Wayne State and Hillsdale in the first game of the day ... Quarterback Matt Bohnet will not be slowed by the ankle injury he suffered late in the loss to BGSU ... Wide receiver Eric Deslauriers moved up to third on the NCAA receiving yards per game list following a 189-yard outing Saturday. Bohnet is third nationally in total offense, at 314 yards per game, and kicker Andrew Wellock's 1.75 field goals per game mark is sixth-best in the country.