FACTS & STATS: Site: Peden Stadium (24,000) — Athens, Ohio. Television:
ESPN3.com. Home Record: Akron 3-1, Ohio 2-1. Away Record: Akron 1-1, Ohio 1-3.
Neutral Record: Akron 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: Akron 2-0, Ohio 1-2.
Series Record: Ohio leads, 17-12-1.
GAME NOTES: The Akron Zips will attempt to extend a three-game win streak as
they travel to face their intrastate and Mid-American Conference rival Ohio
University Bobcats at Peden Stadium Saturday.
Akron has won three games in a row, including two in conference play, and will
look to start out a two-game road trip on the right foot. The Zips dominated
in a one-sided matchup against Eastern Michigan two weeks ago (31-6), and took
down Miami-Ohio with relative ease last weekend (29-19).
The Bobcats are trending in the opposite direction after having lost their
last two games, both in one-sided defeats to conference foes. Ohio was beaten
by Central Michigan, 28-10, and then last weekend against Bowling Green,
The two programs have a long and rich history on the football field. Ohio
leads the all-time series between the sides, 17-12-1. This will be the 31st
meeting of the intrastate rivals, and the first since the Bobcats took down
the Zips, 43-3, in 2013.
Akron got the scoring started early against Miami-Ohio in last Saturday’s
outing, jumping to a quick 12-0 advantage. But the RedHawks caught up and
sliced the lead to 15-13 at the end of the first half. But the second half
belonged solely to the Zips, who were outgained by 100 yards on the offensive
side of the ball but still managed to pull off the win. Running back Jawon
Chisholm was the star on the offensive side of the ball for Akron after
gaining 102 yards on the ground with two rushing touchdowns.
Chisholm is part of an offensive unit that is averaging 136.8 rushing ypg this
season. He’s still behind Conor Hundley this season, who leads the team with
316 yards on the ground, but Chisholm has three touchdowns to Hundley’s one.
The Zips have scored nine times via the ground attack this season in six
Quarterback Kyle Pohl has been up and down in terms of success this season,
though he has done a solid job of managing the team’s offense. He completed
just 13 passes last weekend for 103 yards, but missed the entire second half
of the game due to an injury. Tommy Woodson stepped in under center and
completed 7-of-14 passing for 64 yards in the second half with Pohl out of the
game. Pohl’s status moving forward is still up in the air.
The Zips defensively stepped up in the absence of their starting quarterback
to contain Miami quarterback Andrew Hendrix, who had been on fire in his
recent outings. Hendrix still passed for 352 yards and three scores in the
loss, but tossed an interception in the game. Akron is limiting opponents to
just 17.3 ppg and 367.8 total offensive ypg.
Linebacker Jatavis Brown has set himself apart from the rest of the Akron
defense statistically. The junior has recorded 50 tackles with four sacks and
7.5 tackles for loss. The next two players are linebackers Justin March and
C.J. Mizell, who have 26 tackles this year. The Zips have intercepted seven
passes and recovered seven fumbles for 14 turnovers forced in six games.
Ohio is coming off a one-sided loss to MAC East Division leader Bowling Green
last Saturday, but the Bobcats were still able to fire off a school-record 110
offensive plays in the defeat. The previous high for the team was 104 back in
a 1968 matchup against Marshall. Bowling Green built up a 28-6 lead over Ohio
by the time the third quarter had ended, although the Bobcats ended the
contest with a 513-355 advantage in terms of total offensive yards.
Quarterback J.D. Sprague played well against Bowling Green, but he completed
just 48.2 percent of his pass attempts in the loss. Sprague threw for 325
yards and completed 27-of-56 pass attempts, and was sacked five times. The
Bobcats have just five passing scores this season. and average 217.4 passing
ypg in seven games played. Sprague is completing just 49 percent of his
passes, and has a 1-2 touchdown to interception ratio in six times out on the
He also led the team on the ground in last Saturday’s loss with 49 yards on 16
carries. Running back A.J. Ouellette wasn’t far behind with 45 yards.
Ouellette leads the team, which averages 158.1 rushing ypg this season, with
333 yards and four touchdowns in six games. As a unit, Ohio is averaging 18.1
The team’s defense certainly isn’t doing the Bobcats any favors, especially in
recent contests. This season, Ohio is surrendering 25.7 ppg and 439.1
offensive ypg to opponents. In all but two games in 2014, the Bobcats have
scored 17 points or fewer, which leaves the defense not much wiggle room when
trying to slow the opposition.
Linebacker Quentin Poling has been one of the few bright spots for Ohio this
season, having notched 53 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and a
team-best three interceptions to pace the Bobcats. In seven games, the team
has just six recorded turnovers – five of which have been from interceptions.
Players along the defensive line like Antwan Crutcher and Cameron McLeod must
step up and force opponents into making mistakes.
The two teams are heading in completely opposite directions, with Akron
looking like a potentially sneaky team to pull a few upsets in the MAC. But
some of the team’s success will slide if Pohl isn’t able to go this weekend.
Still, the Zips have other options on offense and will employ a stifling
defense to shut down the Bobcats at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Akron 23, Ohio 14