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Both teams participated in multiple community service events around the Port City

 MOBILE, Ala. – Both Eastern Michigan and South Alabama spent their Wednesday morning at various locations throughout Mobile helping at food pantries and as educational mentors as part of the 68 Ventures Bowl community service day.

EMU had representatives at the Prodisee Pantry while USA was at Feeding the Gulf Coast. Both teams spent time with children from Team Focus USA at Flight Works Alabama.

The Eagles then spent a 2-hour practice on the turf at UMS-Wright Prep, getting their first workout since arriving on Tuesday early afternoon. Head coach Chris Creighton was well aware of the challenge USA’s defense will pose to his offense.

“They have a top 30 defense for a reason,” Creighton said. “We are going to have to play our style of football and take advantage of situations when they arise.”

The Eagles style centers around the running game which has averaged 115 yards per game and 3.5 per carry. Running backs Samson Evans and Jaylon Jackson have combined for 1,200 yards this season and each go for 4.5 yards per rush.

The Jaguars also spent time on the practice field, going in shells for their workout at the Jaguar Training Facility. USA head coach Kane Wommack was very aware of the physical, ball control style that the Eagles will bring to Hancock Whitney Stadium Saturday night.

“They do a really good job of moving the ball methodically down the field,” Wommack said. “They are very physical and if you allow them, they will get four yards over and over and over again in the run game, and just bleed you all the way down the field.”

USA enters bowl season ranked 27th in total defense, allowing just 326 ypg, while the rushing defense is 26th at 116.8 ypg.

Both teams are 6-6 on the season and will meet for the first time on the gridiron when the game kicks off at 6:00 p.m. CST on ESPN.

On Thursday, each squad will have a morning practice before spending the afternoon on Dauphin Island. The teams will tour Fort Gains, visit the Alabama Aquarium and set foot on the sugar white sand beaches.

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