Eastern Mich vs


at Mobile
Sat, Dec 18
2:45 PM Pacific
Rotation: 213
Odds: Liberty -9, Total: 58.5

Game Analysis

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Lean – Liberty (-9)  34   Eastern Michigan  21

Liberty lost their final 3 regular season games to limp into this game, but quarterback Malik Willis should certainly be motivated to get back on track given his fluctuating NFL draft status. Willis had a down year throwing the football, completing a mediocre 62% of his passes and rating at 0.7 yards per pass play worse than average (6.3 yppp against teams that would allow 7.0 yppp to an average QB) while throwing 12 interceptions (after just 6 picks in 2020). NFL scouts wouldn’t be interested in Willis if not for his great running skills (994 yards at 7.2 yards per run) and I expect the Liberty offense to function well against a bad Eastern Michigan defense that’s allowed 6.1 yards per play to a slate of opponents that would combine to average only 5.2 yppl against an average defensive team. The Flames, who overall rate at 0.2 yppl better than average, are projected to gain close to 500 yards at 6.9 yppl in this game.

Eastern Michigan will have a tough time keeping up, as the Eagles have been 0.6 yppl worse than average with QB Ben Bryant on the field. Bryant has pretty good raw numbers and Eastern Michigan has averaged 33 points in the 10 games with Bryant as the quarterback but they’ve averaged a modest 5.8 yppl in those games despite facing a schedule of mostly bad defensive teams that would allow 6.4 yppl to an average attack. Liberty’s defense has yielded just 21.7 points per game and only 4.8 yppl to teams that would average 5.2 yppl against an average stop unit and the Flames have a huge advantage against the EMU offense. Eastern Michigan is projected to barely get back 300 yards at 4.8 yppl.

This game, as with many early bowl games, comes down to motivation. It’s possible that Liberty may not be that fired up for this game after seeing their once high aspirations deteriorate late in the season, and December Bowl favorites of 7 points or more are just 74-124-7 ATS since 1980. However, Willis is certainly motivated, and the defensive players strike me as a group proud of their accomplishments this season based on the interviews I’ve seen. I do think Liberty cares about this game and their head coach Hugh Freeze is 5-1 ATS in bowl games in his career (EMU coach Creighton is 3-0 ATS).

The math model favors Liberty by 15.5 points and I’ll shave a few points off based on the early bowl big favorite situation. I’ll lean with the Flames at -10 or less.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Eastern Mich
  • Liberty


  • Run Plays 30.9 36.9
  • Run Yards 139.5 201.9
  • YPRP 4.5 5.5


  • Pass Comp 23.4 18.1
  • Pass Att 34.3 30.4
  • Comp % 68.4% 59.4%
  • Pass Yards 262.9 232.3
  • Sacks 3.3 1.8
  • Sack Yards 19.8 12.2
  • Sack % 8.7% 5.7%
  • Pass Plays 37.5 32.3
  • Net Pass Yards 243.2 220.2
  • YPPP 6.5 6.8


  • Total Plays 68.4 69.2
  • Total Yards 382.7 422.1
  • YPPL 5.6 6.1


  • Int 0.7 0.6
  • Int % 2.0% 1.9%
  • Fumbles 0.4 0.8
  • Turnovers 1.1 1.3
  • Points 31.0 27.8
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