Akron Zips coach Terry Bowden often says that after a loss it’s how you respond that determines at team’s future. That is never more true than this weekend for the Zips (4-3, 2-1) as they take on the Ball State Cardinals (2-5, 1-2) in Muncie, Ind. After missing a chance to vanquish some demons and take a leading position in the MAC East Division, UA instead allowed the Bobcats into the conversation after losing to them 23-20. Now there will be three teams – add Bowling Green to the mix – scrapping for the crown. That situation makes every game important. UA needs to build momentum because their next challenge will come against the Falcons. Here are five keys to beating the Cardinals.
Ignore Ball State’s record: The Cardinals own a 2-5 record and that should be ignored. This is where the cliché “they’re better than their record indicates” comes in. The Cardinals have been in every game they’ve played and have lost by an average margin of seven points in five games. Two of the games they lost came by just four points each. It’s a team that misses its former quarterback Keith Wenning, but they’re also coming off a win giving them some momentum.
Establish the running game: Bowden said he felt more comfortable passing the ball last week against Ohio after the team lost a key cog and the offensive line and shuffled it to compensate. Jawon Chisholm and Conor Hundley combined for 13 carries. I’m no football coach, but I contend that was a mistake with a freshman quarterback in Tommy Woodson getting his first start. Ball State gives up 197 yards rushing per game. Do the math. It makes sense to try to establish the run no matter who is in at quarterback. Kyle Pohl, who started every games until suffering a head injury, was back at practice this week and Bowden will keep Ball coach Pete Lembo guessing. Call me crazy, but I think a healthy, clear-headed Pohl helps.
That defense must get to Ball quarterback Jack Milas: Milas produced a breakout game against their win against Central Michigan last week, but the fact is he is a freshman. If they can get some clean hits on him, he will be rattled. Throwing a few exotic blitzes his way from the secondary couldn’t hurt either. It won’t be easy, the Ball State offensive line has only given up 10 sacks on the season. Every little bit is going to help because the Cards average more than 25 points per game and have scored more than 30 in each of their past two outings.To read more or comment...
After a few weeks off, we return to getting a look at the Akron Zips’ opponent. This week Ben Breiner of the Star Press in Muncie, Ind. provides insight into what UA can expect against the Ball State Cardinals.
How difficult has it been to replace Keith Wenning?
To this point, all sorts of difficult. He was the guy who really ran the offensive show, made things go through the air. That in turn helped the ground game go, and Ball State has been a team that under Pete Lembo has led with his offense. For the first five games, the aerial attack showed little spark. So in short, he's been missed.
Has losing him been the difference in losing those close games?To read more or comment...
University of Akron quarterback Kyle Pohl was back on the field Tuesday and pronounced himself healthy after missing last week’s game against Ohio University.
“I feel healthy. It’s always scary thing, a head injury, but I feel good,” he said.
How much he plays against the team’s next opponent, Ball State, remains to be seen however.
In his place redshirt freshman Thomas Woodson got the start, completing 23-of-45 passes for 268 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.To read more or comment...
ATHENS: A fumble, their third turnover of the day) with less than four minutes left in the game sealed the University of Akron’s fate against Ohio University Saturday afternoon at Peden Stadium The Zips dropped their seven consecutive game to OU 23-20 after Josiah Yazdani connected on a 22-yard field goal with 1:55 left in the game.
With the score tied at 20, Zips (3-3, 2-1) quarterback Thomas Woodson hit receiver Andrew Pratt with what would have been a short gain in the flat. Pratt took two steps before the ball tumbled out eventually being recovered by the Bobcats’ Devin Bass who returned the ball to the UA 21-yard line. Six plays later, Yazdani connected.
The Zips appeared ready to mount a drive to at least tie the game, getting two first downs and into Ohio territory. Woodson connected with receiver L.T. Smith and then Zach D’Orazio before Josh Kristoff of the Bobcats picked the ball off.To read more or comment...
There’s a sense that a shift in the Mid-American Conference’s East Division is afoot as the Akron Zips – winners of two consecutive – appear to be putting things together.
But there’s also reality. Reality in this case dictates that any talk of power shifts means that the Zips have to go through the Ohio Bobcats to state their case or make their claim.
This week that will be easier said than done, despite the Bobcats 3-4 record. The Zips have lost six consecutive to OU and they will go in without starting quarterback Kyle Pohl. In his place, quarterback Thomas Woodson will get his first career start. Right now, the Zips offensive staff looks as if it’s filled with geniuses, because Woodson has already appeared in five games this season.
But what must transpire for him to get his first career victory? Here’s a rundown of the five keys to beating the Bobcats:To read more or comment...