Akron has six lawsuits keeping it from having all the land it desires for the football stadium, the ABJ writes.
David Lee Morgan recapped the season.
By the way, Zippy has a bye this week, but she will face the winner of Cavman and Otto. Vote for the weaker mascot, which is probably Cavman. Cavman has a better record than Otto but accumulated 6,000 fewer votes during the regular season. (It's such a joke that I'm talking about this crap seriously.)
Akron's season concluded tonight with a 1-0 loss to Central Florida in double-overtime.
The Zips outshot the Bulls, 17-8, but Yohance Marshall scored the game's only goal in the 101st minute.
Star freshman Steve Zakuani got off five shots.
Jabari Arthur and Reggie Corner are All-MAC First Team.
Brion Stokes, Chris Kemme and Almondo Sewell are second teamers. John Mackey, Bryan Williams and Kevin Grant are third teamers.
That's a lot of honors for a 4-8 team. You might argue there should have been more. Perhaps Davanzo Tate should have been included, too.
Akron plays South Florida at 7:30 tonight at Lee Jackson Field.
Tickets are $8 and $5 for students.
Dionte Christmas started his first game in John Cheney's last.
It was Akron's first and only postseason win in Division I.
Fast forward to tonight, where Christmas is one of the best players in Atlantic 10. He put up 20 points per game last year and has maintained it this season.
Alongside Christmas is Mark Tyndale, who is averaging 16.4 points per game.
The Owls have one of the nation's best wing combos. Limiting the two will be Akron's challenge tonight.
Look for Nate Linhart, Cedrick Middleton and Jimmy Conyers to combine for 80 minutes. Their defense will be critical.
So far, Akron has played too sloppy to beat a quality opponent. I can't pick the Zips until I see a more polished effort offensively.
Prediction: Temple 65, Akron 60
Akron scorched Binghamton last season, 90-55. Coach Al Walker called it an "old-fashioned butt whipping."
It was one of the first games where Jeremiah Wood looked like his old self.
Walker is gone, replaced by Kevin Broadus, who came from Georgetown as one of the nation's most touted assistant coaches.
The Bearcats return a lot of their scorers from last season, particularly the backcourt tandem of Richard Forbes and Mike Gordon. The Zips set out to limit them last year and did.
The teams will play at 7 tonight at Rhodes Arena.
The Bearcats biggest weakness this season has been interior defense. Opponents are shooting 50 percent. Also, Binghamton is getting beaten on the boards by more than 9 rebounds per night.
Wood and Quade Milum might combine for 40 points in this blowout.
Prediction: Akron 79, Binghamton 59
From what I hear, the report about J.D. Brookhart being replaced is either premature or untrue. There was no team meeting this morning, unlike the comment under my previous post says. One player told me he thinks the rumor is bogus and nobody has been told anything about Brookhart.
If it's true, I doubt any announcement would be made until James Madison finishes its run in the D-IAA playoffs. They're playing Appalachian State today.
Akron nearly committed grand theft by pulling out a victory against Central Michigan, despite being outgained by more than 300 yards.
CMU's Dan LeFevour led the Chippewas down the field for a touchdown to win 35-32.
Akron nearly sealed a victory with four minutes left. Chris Jacquemain found Jabari Arthur open for a gain that would have put the Zips in field goal position and given them a chance to run out the clock. A holding penalty negated the long gain and ultimately resulted in good field position for LeFevour to begin his game-winning drive.
Arthur caught eight balls for 111 yards in his final collegiate game. Bryan Williams was the Zips' other star, scoring two touchdowns and running for 145 yards.
I'll have more on the game later. My frozen fingers don't want to type, but feel free to comment about what you saw in the mean time.
It's going to be cold today, but we probably won't see the kind of snow storm that could slow Dan LeFevour.
Prediction: The Zips will mount a large first half lead on Chris Jacquemain's typical quick start. The Chippewas will return fire in the second half. Whoever has the ball last will win.
Akron 33, Central Michigan 38
The theme -- The Chippewas give up 38.5 per game. Consider, though, that when you score a lot yourself (and primarily through the pass), you won't take much time off the clock and the other team will get more possessions. CMU is actually decent at run defense. The pass defense, though, is pretty porous. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 67 percent of their passes, which is worst in the MAC by a large margin. They are almost averaging a 300 yard passing game from the opponent.
Key players -- Strongside linebacker Red Keith is 15th in the nation in tackles. He often drops into coverage in their 4-3 scheme. Right defensive end Frank Zombo leads the team with 5.5 sacks.
How Akron can score -- I would say "pass," but it's going to be cold and even in ideal conditions, Akron couldn't pass on a lethal injection with a rusty needle. In his final career start, Chris Jacquemain will have to play like he did against Western Michigan for Akron to have a chance.
The theme -- Dan LeFevour is the Chips offense. He's the MAC's No. 3 passer and No. 8 runner. He has 20 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing scores. That's Tim Tebow territory. LeFevour is the Zips' worst nightmare -- an amazing passer with great field vision and instincts when to leave the pocket.
How Akron can stop them -- Cold, sloppy weather would help. And it looks like the Zips will get it. If the conditions are bad, Akron needs to stack the box and focus on the run. If LeFevour can pass, hope for fumbles and that the Zips' offense can keep up. Also, maybe CMU coach Butch Jones will pull his starters considering the team has little to play for. They're already in the MAC Championship. But he probably won't.
If Caleb Porter knew Zips history, his bags would be packed for Moscow or some other cartoonishly unfair place for a first-round road game.
For once, however, the Zips didn't get screwed. In fact, they won't even play in the first round.
After the bye, either South Florida or Colgate will come to Lee Jackson Field. Then the course gets more difficult with a road game against No. 3 Connecticut. No. 2 Wake Forest, who beat Akron earlier in the season, also is on the Zips' side of the bracket.
The Zips will play their first game Wednesday the 28th. Round three will be the following weekend.
Anthony Ampaipitakwong put an exclamation point on his freshman season by sending his team to the NCAA Tournament.
Akron won the MAC Championship over Buffalo 1-0 thanks to his goal in the 101st minute. The Zips outshot the Bulls 18-4 and landed four players on the all-tournament team.
We will find out tomorrow where the Zips fit in the tournament bracket. They should be hoping for a first-round bye.
Akron missed 8 of last 9 foul shots in a valiant attempt to blow a second-straight game in Alaska.
A Nick Dials running floater with 3.9 seconds remaining foiled the cunning plan as the Zips beat Tennessee State 74-72.
"I had a big 7-footer running out at me, so I had no choice but to drive," Dials said.
Jeremiah Wood led the Zips again with 17 points and eight rebounds. The assist-to-turnover ratio was more palatable, as well, at 17-13. Akron will leave Alaska with third place in the BP Top of the World Classic.
"We're definitely going to have to do some things differently," Keith Dambrot said. "Anyone who thinks our team right now is as good as last year's team is mistaken.
"I think we're going to get better, but people will have to be patient."
The Zips will have a week to heal before a string of home games begins Saturday versus Binghamton.
The competition will stiffen a tad for the Zips tonight as they take on Portland State, the consensus No. 3 team in the Big Sky Conference.
The Vikings won the conference in 2005. Since then, they have been up and down. The Zips are 6.5-point favorites to win the game and play for the tournament championship.
After last night's game, Keith Dambrot blamed the close score on the lack of a true point guard. (It surprises me how heavily he was relying on Ronnie Steward.)
Akron beat Northern Illinois 2-1 in double overtime to advance to the MAC Championship. The Zips will play Buffalo for the conference crown Sunday at 2 p.m. in front of the home crowd.
Akron got its goals from Steve Zakuani and Michael Nanchoff. The Zips consistently had difficulty clearing the ball from NIU scoring position. The Huskies were the only MAC team whom Akron did not beat. The teams tied 0-0 earlier in the year.
Akron made it a lot closer than necessary against South Carolina Upstate last night.
The Zips eventually won 64-60, but the Spartans exposed some problems the team will need to overcome.
USCU outrebounded Akron 43-29. Akron made only 15 of 30 free throws. The team had only seven assists, compared to 13 turnovers.
Despite contributing to the latter two categories with nine missed free throws and five turnovers, Jeremiah Wood led the team with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Some sloppiness is excusable in the season's first game. Look around the nation. However, the Zips will need to gather themselves before tonight's matchup against Portland State. It starts at midnight EST.
I will break down the Vikings later today. I have to find something to do because there's no college football worth watching.
To be honest, I have never heard of them.
I have a perfectly good excuse. They have been in Division I for only a week.
They leaped into the Atlantic Sun conference, which has some nice wins to its credit so far (Belmont over Cincinnati, Gardner-Webb over Kentucky, Mercer over USC).
Before making the jump, USCU won two of the past three Peach Belt Conference championships. Consequently, they went to the Division II tournament.
The first thing that pops out about their roster is 7-foot-2 Nick Schneiders. He played 14 months on Germany's playgrounds before USCU recruited him. (Kinda sounds like "The Air Up There," doesn't it?) Schneiders is still raw, but he can rebound.
Head coach Eddie Payne formerly held that job at East Carolina and Oregon State. He is known for a high-tempo game with three guards in the starting lineup. His son Luke Payne is one of those guards. He is a smart distributor and good shooter. Another good guard is Jeremy Byrd, whose quickness leads to a lot of steals.
Bobby Davis, a junior college transfer, leads the team with points after putting up 13 in a loss to Utah.
Those four guys could probably play for some MAC teams. With nine freshmen on the roster, however, depth will be a problem. If the Spartans love to run so much, they'll need a lot more.
Akron needs to push the ball, get a big lead and cruise.
Prediction: Akron 78, USCU 49
This game is a microcosm of the season.
There were highlights, but one of the nation's worst quarterback situations sucked away hope of winning.
Akron's defense did not allow Miami to score in the Zips' 7-0 loss. John Mackey picked off two passes. Davanzo Tate broke up four passes. The defensive front dominated.
Shift your focus to the wimpy offense. Chris Jacquemain went 12-of-33 and threw two interceptions against the MAC's best scoring defense. Carlton Jackson came to the rescue and promptly fumbled for a RedHawks touchdown. Alex Allen's career game wasn't nearly enough to overcome such incompetence.
The theme -- Miami has a lot of speed on defense. The unit, which runs the 4-3, is tops in the MAC in points allowed. The linebackers and line do a great job pressuring the quarterback and stopping the run. The pass defense is somewhat vulnerable.
Key players -- Weakside linebacker Clayton Mullins is third in the conference in tackles. Middle linebacker Joey Hudson is the playmaker you want to watch out for. Strongside linebacker Caleb Bostic has nine tackles for loss. Joe Coniglio has come off the left end of the line to make 8.5 sacks.
How Akron can score -- Throw deep. The Zips are toast if they try to move the ball on intermediate routes. The RedHawk linebackers are too good. Akron's o-line will have a nice test tomorrow. If they can open holes for Bryan Williams, it will make it easier for Jabari Arthur to get open.
The theme -- Miami's offense isn't outstanding in any facet, but coach Shane Montgomery must be pleased at how the team has performed, considering its youth. The offense is pretty balanced between the run and pass. When the RedHawks run well, they win. The biggest fault is the offensive line's 26 sacks allowed -- 10th in the MAC.
Key players -- Coming into the season, Montgomery thought he was going with Brandon Murphy and Mike Kokal at running back and quarterback, respectively. Younger players have outperformed them. Murphy still plays a little, but Austin Sykes and Cory Jones get more carries. Kokal hasn't played in four weeks, which is when Daniel Raudabaugh took over. The sophomore quarterback has been much more effective.
How Akron can stop them -- Bring the house. Make the sophomore QB beat you with quick reads. The turnovers were aplenty early in the year. If the Zips make the opposing quarterback uncomfortable, they will eventually come back.
It has been a while since Akron got a verbal commitment.
The reasons could be two-fold. First, not many players commit in the middle of their high school season. Second, Akron hasn't been doing a lot on the field to woo recruits.
Here are three new offers to junior college defensive backs...
Davion Mauldin, cornerback, Cerritos, Calif. Offers: Akron Height: 5-foot-10 Weight: 175 Speed: 4.4 Notes: Arizona State, Kansas State and Nevada are other teams of interest for Mauldin.
Josh Pleasant, cornerback, Chatham, Va. (Hargrave Military Academy) Offers: Akron and Kent State Height: 5-9 Weight: 170 Speed: Not listed Notes: Rivals.com says Pleasant is a four-star player and the No. 13 junior college player in the nation. Scout.com calls him a safety, rather than a cornerback, and gives him three stars. Other college choices include Mississippi and Virginia Tech.
Daniel Urias, safety, Mission Viejo, Calif. Offers: Akron Height: 6-2 Weight: 217 Speed: 4.54 Notes: Other schools of interest include Wyoming and Idaho State. Scout.com gives Urias three stars.
Check out Tom Gaffney's story on Thursday's game. Accompanying it is a cool picture of Jeremiah Wood dunking.
Keith Dambrot -- "I think the team is going to be a very, very good team. We just need to get our pieces back (referring to Middleton and Steward)."
On Middleton: "That guy is the heart and soul of our team."
On what he learned tonight: "I needed to find out whether McNees can play and whether Bardo can play. I think Bardo did some good stuff. He's very good defensively. I thought McNees played well offensively. He's a scorer. I'll say that."
On the team's effort tonight: "They punched us in the mouth early. We didn't play well together. We didn't guard well."
On Steward's return: "It doesn't look good to me. He can't walk without a limp. He would have pushed to start. I'm going in thinking we're not (going to redshirt him). A lot of it depends on if the other guy (Darryl Roberts) is eligible."
On McNees' defense: "We built the program around defense. I told McNees, 'You're good on offense. I'll play you some. But you need to get better on defense.'"
On Walsh's 7-footer Eder Araujo, who grabbed nine rebounds but was 1-for-11 on field goals: "He could play for a lot of teams (in the MAC). He's better than the guy Kent got (Gabe Garcia)."
On Swiech's possible redshirt: "Ask me in two days." (He implied we should pay attention to how much he played tonight as an indicator.
On Conyers: He's gotten better "belief-wise offensively. A lot of it was rust."
His thoughts on the rotation...
1 - McNees, Middleton 2 - Dials, Middleton 3 - Linhart, Conyers 4 - Milum, McKnight 5 - Wood, Bardo
Cedrick Middleton -- "Last year, how it ended... The fact that that was our last game was hard for us. It took me weeks, months to get over it."
On McNees: "Being here for four years of Coach D, he'll learn to play defense." (He suggested that McNees' defensive shortcoming has become a running joke on the team.)
On his sore knee: "We're just taking precaution." (If this was a regular season game, Dambrot said he'd play.)
On the faster paced offense: "We always want to run the break."
Nick Dials -- "It was very subpar on our part. We didn't play hard from the beginning."
About the MAC Championship loss: "It adds to our maturity. We don't want to put ourselves in the position to lose on a game winner."
On going to Alaska: "I don't want to do it. I don't want to travel no nine hours on a plane."
Akron, this is Endzone. I don't believe you two have met.
The Zips reached the colored turf six times tonight in their 48-37 win over Ohio. The Bobcats felt the oh-so-familiar pain of moving the ball well, but not converting as often as the opposition.
Several Zips starred on offense. Jabari Arthur was Jabari Arthur, gaining 129 yards and a touchdown. Alex Allen played the best game of his career, rushing for 96 yards and three touchdowns. Chris Jacquemain finished off the Bobcats with a touchdown to Kris Kasparek that showed some progression as a passer with field vision. Bryan Williams, of course, swung the momentum back to Akron early in the first quarter with a kickoff return 95 yards for a touchdown.
Hand it to the Zips defense, too, for limiting Kalvin McRae after a 54-yard touchdown dash in the first quarter. Take out that play, and McRae had 55 yards on 20 carries -- hardly what Ohio should expect from an All-MAC player. The Bobcats were fairly effective in the air, but you can accept that considering the success in stopping McRae.
You could almost see this win coming. Once you think you know something in the MAC, such as "Akron's slumping" or "Ohio's getting it together," the teams swap. Blame the incredible amount of parity in the MAC. The Godfather Mike Waddell pointed this out to me today: Name one MAC football program who has been consistently good the past five years.
I can't. Can you? Yet that is what fans expect from J.D. Brookhart. As my column in tomorrow's paper says, people need to give him a break. There's no reason Akron fans should be so demanding that they either call for his head or call him a savior depending on each week's performance.
Zips fans are about 48 hours away from their first taste of basketball.
"Walsh is a good team," assistant coach Jeff Boals said. "It's not a team that you can take lightly. Two years ago they won the NAIA National Championship."
Two St. Vincent/St. Mary's High School grads lead the Walsh Cavaliers: Brandon Weems and Corey Jones.
The Zips will work on limiting turnovers and fouls and improving defensively. Those were the main issues during Akron's super-secret scrimmage at Xavier this weekend.
The Musketeers are a really good team. Some expect them to win the Atlantic 10. You might remember point guard Drew Lavender, who was one of the nation's top point guard recruits. The Columbus native committed to Oklahoma, then transferred to Xavier.
"It went good," Boals said. "Xavier is really good. They were really impressive. They are an experienced team."
The Zips held with them for most of the scrimmage, which consisted of two 25-minute segments and some situational plays. Akron began to sub some of the bench players and fell behind by 10.
"We held our own," Boals said.
On the injury front, Jeremiah Wood's hand has gotten a lot better. Ronnie Steward is about to start running again after suffering a badly strained hip flexor. Cedrick Middleton has a sore knee, and the coaches might hold him out of the exhibition game on Thursday.
That is bad news for the Zips' already thin point guard situation. Steve McNees is a good shooter with reliable ball handling, but defensively is a liability. That is where you get some of the concern for fouls, which come as a result of guard penetration.
"The point guard spot is hardest to learn," Boals said. "He has to learn where people are going to be. Defensively, he's going to guard quicker guys."
Darryl Roberts, who could help at the point, can't play until December because of academics. He's quick and can shoot very well, but he hasn't practiced with the team. It's hard to say whether he'll contribute.
The theme -- Ohio's defense has been successful when it is able to penetrate into teams' backfields. The Bobcats are second in the MAC with 24 sacks. They are in the top-half in the conference in stopping the run and pass. The line in this 4-3 defense is the strength.
Key players -- Landen Cohen and Kris Luchsinger lead that line. Safety Todd Koenig leads the team in tackles. Although he has been quiet this year, don't forget about punt returner Chris Jarrett, who was a third-team Freshman All-American last year.
How Akron can score -- This should be a good test for Akron's line. It must limit penetration because the Zips won't move the ball if they're facing third-and-long all night. Chris Jacquemain is eligible to play, but the coaches haven't announced who will start. As with the entire season, I might as well be throwing the passes if the Zips don't enter the endzone at least four times.
The theme -- Coming into the season, Ohio appeared to be a stuff-it-down-your-throat offense that would only pass when the opponent stacked the box with eight defenders. Ten games through the season, the Bobcats have thrown more than they have ran, but quite a bit of them have been dumpoffs and check downs.
Key players -- They still have a great weapon in Kalvin McRae, who has been running very well the past four weeks. He hasn't rushed for fewer than 150 yards since then. Like the Zips, the Bobcats have juggled quarterbacks. Brad Bower and Theo Scott have similar statistics, except that Scott has been more successful leaving the pocket. Tight end Andrew Mooney is the primary target for their conservative passing game.
How Akron can stop them -- Play the Bobcats exactly how you played Buffalo. Stack the box and stop McRae. The plan would have worked two weeks ago if only Akron's offense wasn't so incompetant in the redzone.
Another week, another beatdown.
The Zips' season officially slipped away with a 44-20 loss at Bowling Green. It was a game where the Falcons did exactly what they wanted on offense, and the Zips' critical errors kept their decent drives from showing up on the scoreboard.
Bowling Green scored on every drive except two. The Falcons taught the Zips a lesson in running the spread offense. You have to have a quarterback with great field vision and a strong arm. Tyler Sheehan played a very effective game in that sense.
Carlton Jackson played instead of Chris Jacquemain, who was suspended for breaking team rules. As a rusher, Jackson looked outstanding. Problem is, his Johnny Damon-style lollipop throws resulted in two interceptions.
Still, Jackson ran the offense well enough to give Akron a chance to score. However, the redzone ineptitude continued, as the Zips failed to convert due to two turnovers on downs and a fumble.
Here's where good coaches earn their money. Not every season ends in a bowl game; at some point, the team has nothing to play for. Will he "lose" the team? Or will it play with pride and discipline? His job might depend on it.
My buddy Kiel Fleming rhetorically asked: Can't we just combine the basketball and football coaching jobs and ask Keith Dambrot to do both?
In that vein, Akron got two votes in the preseason AP poll. (Yet, they're not even the MAC media's favorite in the East division.)
Two votes is the same amount as Illinois and one more than George Mason.
The theme -- Bowling Green is 112th in the nation in run defense, giving up 215 yards per game on the ground. That could be excusable if the Falcons had played run dominant teams like Akron has, but that's not the case with the exception of Michigan State. The Falcons do defend the pass pretty well in terms of yardage (43rd in the nation), but teams just don't throw that often against them.
At the end of the game, Bowling Green doesn't mind if your team scores in the 30s. Its aerial offense has beaten two teams -- Minnesota and Temple -- who scored 31 and 35 points, respectively.
Key players -- The defense's strength lies with its linebackers. John Haneline leads the MAC with 11.4 tackles per game. Erique Dozier, from Garfield High School Akron, plays well in coverage. Loren Hargrove leads the team with 6.5 sacks.
How Akron can score -- Bryan Williams and Alex Allen need to keep Tyler Sheehan and Co. off the field. The way Chris Jacquemain has played, Akron can't win a shootout. I don't want to be a broken record, but Carlton Jackson really needs to play.