Eastern Mich vs

San Jose St.

at Boise
Tue, Dec 20
12:30 PM Pacific
Rotation: 221
Odds: San Jose St. -4, Total: 53

Game Analysis

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Lean – Eastern Michigan (+4)  26   San Jose State  25

San Jose State has dropped 6 consecutive games to the number, after covering 4 straight early in the season, and my math model has at least leaned against them in 5 of those 6 games. Such is the case again, as the math leans with an Eastern Michigan team that consistently overachieves under coach Chris Creighton. I made the mistake of playing Eastern Michigan under as one of my 11 season win total Best Bets this season and the Eagles managed to win 8 games despite not being a good team (11.8 points worse than average from the line of scrimmage). Creighton’s team continued to rise up as underdogs, going 5-1 ATS when getting points while winning 4 of those 6 games straight up – including a win as a 20.5-point dog at Arizona State. Eastern Michigan is now on a 31-9-2 ATS run as an underdog of 2 points or more and my math model likes them in this game – although not quite enough to make them a Best Bet or Strong Opinion.

The Eastern Michigan offense is not as good as the 28.8 points per game they scored, as the Eagles managed just 5.3 yards per play (against teams that would allow 6.1 yppl to an average team). Playing quarterback Taylor Powell instead of Austin Smith (both played a lot this season) is only a slight upgrade, as Powell’s better passing numbers are offset by the rushing numbers not being as good without Smith’s contributions (313 yards on 50 runs). Having Powell at quarterback does help against a San Jose State defense that is very tough to run against (0.4 yprp better than average) but has been 0.6 yppp worse than average against the pass, which the Eagles do more of when Powell is behind center. Overall, the San Jose State defense allowed just 20.3 points per game and rates as average on a national scale (5.1 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.1 yppl against an average FBS defense). I project at modest 366 yards at 5.3 yppl for the EMU in this game.

Eastern Michigan’s defense was horrible the first 4 games of the season (allowed 38.5 ppg and 6.4 yppl to teams that would average just 5.3 yppl) but the coaching staff made a change to the defensive scheme after giving up 50 points to Buffalo in week 4 and since then the Eagles’ stop unit has allowed just 23.6 ppg and has been just 0.4 yppl worse than average (5.2 yppl allowed to teams that would average 4.8 yppl – adjusted for facing backup quarterbacks for half a game each against Akron and Kent State and a full game against Toledo). San Jose State’s offense rates at 0.6 yppl worse than average but is better than that because veteran quarterback Chevan Cordeiro has a history of not throwing many interceptions and he has thrown just 4 picks this season. I project 359 at 5.7 yppl for San Jose State in this game.

Overall San Jose State is the better team from the line of scrimmage, but the Spartans have horrible special teams, as they are -5.8 yards in starting kickoff field position differential and -4.5 yards in net punt differential. San Jose State’s +12 turnover margin is a bit lucky, even with Cordeiro not likely to throw many interceptions (I project only a +0.27 turnover differential for this game) and the Spartans continue to be overrated.

The Spartans should not be favored by more than 3 points and I’ll call for the outright upset for Eastern Michigan, which is something they have a habit of doing under coach Creighton.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Eastern Mich
  • San Jose St.


  • Run Plays 34.9 34.7
  • Run Yards 163.7 174.8
  • YPRP 4.7 5.0


  • Pass Comp 18.8 16.7
  • Pass Att 30.0 29.5
  • Comp % 62.8% 56.5%
  • Pass Yards 215.8 209.0
  • Sacks 2.5 1.9
  • Sack Yards 18.6 12.1
  • Sack % 7.7% 6.1%
  • Pass Plays 32.5 31.4
  • Net Pass Yards 197.3 196.9
  • YPPP 6.1 6.3


  • Total Plays 67.4 66.1
  • Total Yards 360.9 371.8
  • YPPL 5.4 5.6


  • Int 0.9 0.8
  • Int % 3.1% 2.8%
  • Fumbles 0.5 0.6
  • Turnovers 1.4 1.4
  • Points 28.8 28.6
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