A seventh win, a distant title shot and a trophy tug-of-war all add intrigue to Tuesday’s intrastate MACtion football clash between Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan.
Both squads are now bowl-eligible, but only the Broncos have a sliver of a chance to win the MAC title. Only Eastern still has a shot to host the coveted “Michigan MAC Trophy” in Ypsilanti until next season. A loss by either scratches their chances.
Western travels to Rynearson Stadium after following a narrow victory over Akron as Eastern looks to recover after falling to Ohio.
Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan: MACtion Odds
Western Michigan a moderate opening favorite
Michigan sportsbooks are predicting a one-score game, with Western Michigan getting the slight edge.
The moneyline for Eastern ranges from +150 to +175. Western’s range was -180 to -215.
The over/under for the game is listed between 53.5 and 55 points across Michigan sportsbooks.
Eastern Michigan is 5-5 against the spread, while Western Michigan moved to 4-4-1 after its four-point victory over Akron fell way short of the 26.5 points the underdog Zips were given.
How to watch: Western Michigan Broncos at Eastern Michigan Eagles
- Who: Western Michigan (6-4, 3-3 MAC), at Eastern Michigan (6-4, 3-3)
- When: 7:30 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Nov. 16
- Where: Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, Mich.
- TV: ESPN2
- Livestream: ESPN+
- Radio: WEMU-89.1 FM, Bronco Radio Network
Ohio strikes back in third quarter to beat Eastern
After becoming bowl eligible for just the sixth time in its history, Eastern Michigan fell to Ohio 34-26 in last week’s crossover #MACtion meeting.
The Eagles tied it at 20-all early in the third quarter, but the Bobcats answered back with two touchdowns to hold off the hosts, who went into the game favored by 7 points.
Senior quarterback Ben Bryant had a career-high 41 completions on 57 tries and threw for 354 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
The week prior was Bryant’s best game of the season, when he also threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 52-49 win against Toledo.
Dylan Drummond caught Bryant’s sole passing touchdown of the game and finished with nine receptions for 73 yards.
Hassan Beydoun also was targeted nine times for 85 yards. Beydoun’s 815 yards on the season is good for fourth in the MAC and 23rd in the nation.
Samson Evans had eight carries for 62 yards and two touchdowns.
Tanner Knue had 11 catches for 127 yards in his second game back. Chad Ryland, who is perfect on extra points this season, booted in two field goals, including a career-best 55-yarder.
Tyler scores three ways as Western Michigan snaps two-game losing streak
The 26-point favorite Broncos stopped an almost-stunner and became bowl-eligible with a 45-40 win against the Zips in Kalamazoo last Tuesday night.
Western had led from the second quarter on until a 39-yard field goal by Akron’s Cory Smigel put Akron on top 40-38 with 2:22 remaining.
On the ensuing six-play drive, Corey Crooms snagged a 45-yard touchdown pass from Kaleb Eleby with under two minutes to play, nudging Western into the lead.
Akron tried to battle back but the game ended on an incomplete pass from Zach Gibson on fourth-and-25.
Sean Tyler scored three times (and in three ways), including a 96-yard kickoff return. Tyler’s 147 yards on 16 carries led Western’s 316-yard rushing attack. The sophomore running back also had two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Western outgained Akron 533-391, but the Zips controlled possession with 32:20.
La’Darius Jefferson carried the ball 19 times for 99 yards, while Jaxson Kincaide had six carries for 70 yards and a touchdown. Crooms finished with three catches for 73 yards and the go-ahead score.
Akron’s Michael Mathison returned a kick for 94 yards late in the first half.
Eastern looking for third consecutive win, trophy chance against Western
Western has the hardware and the record. The Broncos lead the series 34-20-2, but Eastern has won the past two meetings. The Eagles upset the Broncos with a 53-42 win in Kalamazoo in 2020, their first win on Western’s property since 2012.
But a loss to Central last season meant the Michigan MAC Trophy stayed in Kalamazoo by default for a second year.
Western could play trophy spoiler for Eastern, but an Eagles victory means the Michigan MAC Trophy heads to Ypsilanti or Mount Pleasant.