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Akron vs. Buffalo - Preview

By mrasor Published: November 25, 2010

Akron will play Buffalo tomorrow. The final chance to avoid a winless season is on the line.
Ironic, it's on Black Friday.
It will truly be a Black day if the Zips lose their twelfth consecutive game.
The last time Akron fans could be proud of their team was the fourth overtime on November 13, 2008. It was right before Dennis Kennedy and Chris Jacquemain botched a handoff on first down at Buffalo's 11-yard line. Buffalo recovered and kicked a field goal to win. The Zips lost the driver's seat for the MAC East and seemingly any semblance of competitiveness.
It was a turning point. In the past 24 months, we have seen multiple suspensions, five quarterbacks, 24 losses and very few moments to be happy with the decision to pay money to watch football at InfoCision Stadium.
Tomorrow's game against Buffalo could be another turning point -- a moment that we look back and say the team fought hard, bloodied, until the end of a demoralizing campaign.
It might seem meaningless, but look at the 2009 Cleveland Browns. They won four straight games to end the season. To most, it was a worthless venture that only served to cost the team draft position. The players did not see it that way; it was a rallying point.
Akron doesn't have four games to build momentum, only one. Maybe it's all they need.
Here is a Buffalo breakdown from my counterpart at UB. Tim Riordan of Bull Run says:

Jeff Quinn brought buzz and excitement to the program which was sucker punched when Coach Gill got called up to the Big12 (after a 5-7 season). The new coaching staff hit the media harder, and more frequently than any time in the modern era. There was so much buzz that a lot of fans, including me, drank the Kool-Aid. We ignored the fact that we had not real returning experience in the passing game, a line built for the proset, and Coach Quinn was going all in on the spread.
There was more concern around the defense, which moved from a 4-3 to a hybrid 3-4, than the offense. Looking back on the whole thing it was kind of obvious that this was going to be a train wreck but Blue tinted glasses had many thinking 6-6 was a reasonable finish for the season (I had 5-7).
The first four games went exactly how I expected them to go, we beat up on Rhode Island, played UCF close, and got hammered by Baylor and UConn. When we beat Bowling Green in a game that no team seemed to want, 5-7 seemed reasonable. I was not even disturbed by the drubbings against Temple and NIU (well a little disturbed by the Temple Game). When we lost to Ball State, that's when I think everyone's glasses came off. This squad's offense has been putrid this season.
The Line, in addition to being trained up in the wrong system for years, was decimated by departures and Injuries. Maynard flew the coup (for Good or Ill I'm not really sure) and we lost Sizemore and Willis to KU (That was alot of the "top tier" talent that Gill brought in). UB just failed top drop 20 on the worst defense in the nation and that has been the story of this season.
I saw better decisions out of Davis this week but he counts on his wideouts to bail him out on the deep balls. Fortunately for him he has some really talented receivers. UB Has had o real running game to speak of all year so there are a lot of QB carries (QB's are #2 and 4 rushing for UB).
The Defense is pretty solid. They played terribly against Temple but aside from that have done everything they could do to keep UB in games this season. very aggressive and pretty good at getting in the QB's face you can count on a lot of blitz packages aimed at trying to get your QB worried before the Ball is snapped.
Put at least 17 on the board on the defense and you should be in a good position to win.

To win, the Zips' secondary must play a solid game, limiting the 60-yard scores. The offensive line, with all its tenure, will have to muscle up and create holes for Alex Allen. This is also perhaps the last audition for Patrick Nicely to be starter in 2011. He needs to play a spotless game.
There are not likely to be many fans watching this game. Thirty-three degrees, snow and 0-11 are not enticing. But those who do show up are your hardcore fans. A shoddy, lackluster performance will risk that even those folks will reconsider their season tickets.
Black Friday is an important day for the program. Akron needs to end this spell against the same team that started it.
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