MORGAN STATE @ EASTERN MICHIGAN
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Site: Rynearson Stadium, Ypsilanti, Mich.
Audio: 88.9 FM
Series: First meeting
What's at stake: The Lee Hull era begins, and the former Maryland wide receivers coach would love nothing more than to start his collegiate head coaching career on the right foot. The Bears finished last season with three wins in the final four games, but . they begin 2014 with two straight road games and five of their first six away from Baltimore. Like Morgan, Eastern Michigan is led by a rookie head coach in Chris Creighton, who guided Drake to a share of Pioneer Football League championships in 2011 and 2012. The Eagles, who play in the Mid-American Conference in the Football Bowl Subdivision, return 17 starters from a 2013 squad that went 2-10.
Key matchup: Eastern Michigan returns seven of eight offensive linemen who started at least one game last season, and that unit is led by redshirt senior left tackle Lincoln Hansen, who has made 28 career starts. Morgan State's 3-4 base defense will rely on a pair of redshirt sophomores in defensive tackle Andrew Mitchell and defensive end Heleaince Gates and senior nose tackle Bradley Sanchez. They'll be counted on to tie up the Eagles' offensive linemen and allow a veteran linebacker group to make stops.
Player to watch: Redshirt senior Robert Council beat redshirt junior Moses Skillon for the right to open the season as the starting quarterback, and now the onus is on him to validate Hull's decision. Council, who has been praised by Hull for his understanding of a newly installed spread offense, is very mobile and has a decent arm, but he has to avoid inconsistent performances that paved the way for a quarterback carousel in 2013.