Four-year starting QB Alex Gillett benched for sophomore Tyler Benz in Eastern's loss to MSU
Mike Mulholland | MLive.com
Sophomore Tyler Benz got the start in EMU's 23-7 loss to Michigan State Saturday, replacing Gillett, who has started 30 games for the Eagles in his career.
"I like him out there. I don't know numbers yet; I haven't even looked at them," English said. "But I liked his poise against a hell of a defense...I mean, he was 13-of-26 for 137 and no picks. And I'll take that all day long, and a touchdown. So, I really liked his poise and I like his demeanor."
Through three games, Gillett was 35-of-74 passing for just 397 yards and four touchdowns against six interceptions. He also entered the game as the team’s leading rusher with 180 yards on 31 carries.
The decision to start Benz was kept secret until game time as Gillett was listed as the starting quarterback on the depth chart. Benz played in the second half of last week’s loss to Purdue, but English made no mention on Benz taking over during the lead up to this week’s game.
“We want to develop Tyler and we want to get him going. It’ll be something that we constantly look at and constantly evaluate where he is,” English said on Tuesday. “Just like every position, it's what he can do to help our football team win games.”
Gillett eventually got on the field on the Eagles' third possession of the game. He lost a yard on two rushing attempts before sitting for the remainder of the game.
While Benz was just 13-of-26 passing for 136 yards and a touchdown, he didn’t turn the ball over, which has been a problem for EMU this season.
Benz found a level of comfort with tight end Garrett Hoskins who had a career-best eight receptions for 102 yards on the day.
As the Eagles prepare for a Mid-American Conference matchup against Kent State on Oct.6, English did not say whether or not Benz would continue to see the majority of snaps at quarterback.
Mat Durr covers sports for AnnArbor.com.