For two quarters, Akron stared UConn eye-to-eye and perhaps outplayed the Huskies.
After halftime, the Zips fell and UConn squashed the Roo with its heel.
In the first half, Akron's defense contained the Huskies and pushed the ball on a couple impressive drives. When the teams left the locker room for the second half, a noticeably fatigued Zips defense folded while UConn surged to score four touchdowns and keep Akron scoreless the rest of the game.
Chris Jacquemain got the start over Carlton Jackson for an undisclosed disciplinary reason. Jacquemain passed well in the first half but mismanaged the offense on several occasions by holding onto the ball too long. With the Zips in the redzone and 24 seconds remaining, he rolled left and was stopped, which allowed the clock to run out without Akron scoring. One could argue that was the game's turning point. Bryan Williams and Jabari Arthur played well.
The performance of running back Andre Dixon blew the game open for UConn. He rushed for 116 yards, mostly coming in the second half. Akron's defense seemed deflated after halftime, and perhaps some of that comes from the intangible loss of John Mackey.
I will have more on the game later. For now, I'll be interested to know what you guys think.
Akron will kickoff in Storrs, Conn., in two hours.
Judging by the media attention, you wouldn't know that
I found one story -- from the AP -- previewing the game in today's papers.
I suppose it's irrelevant. This game doesn't mean much to either team. UConn wants to stay undefeated. It solidifies the Huskies' bowl eligibility, but they really care more about the Big East schedule. Akron, on the other hand, wants to knock off a BCS opponent. Aside from confidence or recruiting, that's not a giant help. The six MAC East games are all that really matter to J.D. Brookhart.
I would trade a win to see the Zips improve in the running and passing attacks and to stay healthy.
It will be interesting to see how Bryan Williams responds to being named the starting running back. Also watch Wayne Cobham in John Mackey's rover position. The system needs a high-motor sure-tackler at that position. If Cobham can't do it, I am excited to see Amin Kabir, a.k.a. Amin Kaboom.
Carlton Jackson's play concerned many of you last week. This will be his opportunity to fix his mechanics and play "within the system." (I'm still about two weeks of bad quarterback play away from calling for Matt Rodgers.)
Akron will need to protect Jackson and limit UConn running back Donald Brown to stay in this game. They probably will, but the Huskies still win. Regardless, take the Zips against the 15.5-point spread.
UConn 21, Akron 16
The theme -- UConn is among the nation's top 20 teams in stopping the run, allowing just 85 yards per game. The Huskies are also top-20 in pass defense, holding teams to 165.5 yards. When three of your first four games are against Duke, Maine and Temple, does it matter?
Two teams were able to penetrate the Huskies. Temple ran up 189 rushing yards. Pitt threw for 277. If not for a bogus call, Temple would have won. If not for six turnovers, Pitt would have been more competitive. Hopefully Akron studied both tapes to discover what those teams did to be successful.
Key players -- Defensive end Cody Brown leads the team with 17 solo tackles and seven for a loss. Brown leads a quick and physical defensive line. Redshirt freshman Lawrence Wilson has stepped in nicely to lead the team in total tackles. Safety Robert Brown has intercepted three passes and broken up two.
How Akron can score -- Carlton Jackson needs to be mindful of Brown lurking in the secondary. He ate apart Pitt. Bryan Williams must really assert himself now that the running back job is his. I wouldn't say he won it as much as Dennis Kennedy lost it. The onus lies on the offensive line, too, to start creating holes.
The theme -- Much like Akron, UConn appeared to be a running team before the season begun. With the solid play of first-year quarterback Tyler Lorenzen, the Huskies aren't afraid to pass, either. Still, the meat of the snaps belong to running back Donald Brown, an All-Big East performer who has rushed for 4.2 yards per carry this season. The offense's weakness is the propensity to allow sacks (106th in the nation with 13 allowed). Before last week's win over Pitt, the Huskies hadn't been challenged by a solid defense. Pitt actually held UConn to 289 total yards, but forced six turnovers. The Panthers completely stuffed UConn's running game.
Key players -- RB Brown and QB Lorenzen
How Akron can stop them -- UConn spreads the ball to five receivers. There's no real concern to stop one in particular. The Zips need to stack the box and make the Huskies score by passing. Judging how the running backs fared against Pitt, it's an attainable goal -- and one that could lead to an Akron win.
The nationally ranked Buckeyes (5-2-1) will visit Lee Jackson Field for a 7:30 matchup tonight against the Zips (5-2-0)
Vincent Dorsey wrote an interesting feature about Reggie Corner.
Take a look at how MACReportOnline.com breaks down conference quarterback play so far.
Akron is between a 13.5 and 14 point underdog at Connecticut. I'll break down the Huskies the next two days.
Beat up your fierce rival. Then take a prized recruit from other division foes.
That constitutes a good weekend in College Football Land.
James Harvey, a defensive end from Cochranton, Pa., committed to the Zips Tuesday over offers from Buffalo and Ohio, Rivals.com says.
His 6-foot-4, 262-pound frame seems to suit the defensive end position perfectly in the 3-3-5 scheme. He's big enough to plug the run, but also has a little speed to come off the edge and rush the passer.
That brings the total number of commitments to four, according to Rivals and Scout.
J.D. Brookhart said the university will do everything in its power to grant John Mackey a fifth year of eligibility.
Mackey injured his right ACL in Akron's win over Kent State Saturday.
The NCAA can allow an athlete to play an extra year for what's called a medical redshirt. I went snooping for the rules, and found the following qualifications for gaining a redshirt...
We have whined a lot about the Zips' playcalling this season.
Joe Moorhead got a little more aggressive against Kent State, but it was still mostly a yawner.
I don't like reading journalists who complain and don't offer solutions. From my limited knowledge, here are a handful of ideas the Zips can use to exploit their strengths and keep the defenses honest. Oh yeah, and it should make for a more entertaining product.
As I wrote last night, I wasn't in any mood to analyze the game. It was celebration time.
Many of the players apparently agreed. Many of them got pretty wild last night at a house party. I'll leave it at that.
Seniors couldn't wait to get the Wagon Wheel back. They did, but at a cost.
A knee injury probably ended captain John Mackey's Akron career. With their injured teammate screaming from the sidelines, Davanzo Tate and Reggie Corner reeled in crucial interceptions that allowed Akron to win the biggest game of the season over Kent State, 27-20.
The passing games were ugly with Julian Edelman and Carlton Jackson both having completion rates below 40 percent. The more important stat, for the Zips' purposes, is that Edelman rushed for only 65 yards on 20 carries. The Zips were able to contain him when it mattered most.
Two coaching decisions changed the course of the game. KSU's Doug Martin attempted a fake field goal in the first quarter, which the Zips snuffed out. Second, J.D. Brookhart went for it on fourth-and-3 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. While Kent State expected a run play or short pass, Jackson lofted a 26-yard pass for Jabari Arthur in the endzone.
Looking strictly at yardage, Akron resurrected its running game with 133 yards. But that was on 50 carries. Bryan Williams was the most effective back, rushing for 50 yards on 12 attempts. Alex Allen also looked good. Another disappointing performance by Dennis Kennedy makes me wonder whether the feature back is 100 percent healthy.
Eugene Jarvis was strong for the Flashes. He rushed for 159 yards, but surrendered a costly fumble late in the game. Jack Williams played a stellar game covering Arthur, and he will make an excellent NFL defensive back.
Brion Stokes led the Zips in tackles with 10. It was Akron's pass defense that truly kept the Zips alive until the offense awakened. It wasn't so much of an awakening as it was moseying to the refrigerator for a bottled water. Jackson led the offense on a few drives that the defense and special teams set up. On one kick return, in particular, Arthur fielded the ball and threw a backward pass to Bryan Williams who took the ball deep into Flashes territory.
This should be comparable to Christmas morning for you Zips fans.
It's time for redemption against Kent State.
Sure, the Zips trounced the Flashes three times in basketball last season, but it wasn't as sweet knowing the football team blew a chance at a clean sweep.
The Rowdies need to be rowdy. The Oldies need to be rowdy. Heck, I want to see Luis Proenza cold cock KSU president Lester Lefton for each time he dares to clap for a Flashes score in our stadium.
It seemed maybe Ted Strickland had some sense.
He wasn't from the same breed as Bob Taft, after all.
Not so. Sources are saying Strickland and head education cronie Eric Fingerhut are tossing around the idea of merging Akron with Cleveland State. It might save a few dollars here and there.
I sincerely hope alumni from both universities mobilize to toss these idiots out of office. Any nominal savings would be irrelevant when weighed against the inconvenience for students, the lost credibility for both schools, the lost tradition of both schools and numerous other drawbacks.
Luis Proenza is pretty calm about it, so the idea probably doesn't have legs. If these politicians start publicly discussing it, I personally will lead a picket in front of the governor's mansion.
I agree with the men in this regard: If we were to start all over again with colleges, it probably wouldn't make sense to plant public universities in Cleveland, Youngstown, Akron and Kent. But we can't start over again. So what's the point of mergers that would defeat the purpose of all the infrastructure in place?
Back to Fingerhut. This guy is truly a clown. I remember his Senate campaign chants of "When I say, 'finger,' you say 'hut!'" The guy didn't win a single county against George Voinovich. I do have some faith in Strickland, especially following his tuition freeze. Fingerhut, if he's the one dreaming up this garbage (and even if he's not), has no business holding state-wide office.
The theme Coming into MAC play, I find it quite difficult to gauge how a defense will perform in the conference. Kentucky poured 56 points on the Golden Flashes. On the other hand, KSU kept Iowa State to 14 points. One thing is certain, Kent State has been effective at stopping the pass. The team is 18th in the nation, allowing just 146 yards per game through the air. Senior cornerback Jack Williams leads that defense. Aside from him, there aren't a ton of playmakers, but the unit is all-around solid and should be in the top three in the MAC at the end of the season.
Key players CB Williams
How Akron can score I imagine the Flashes will match up Williams on Jabari Arthur. If that's the case, the Zips' top receiver must use his seven-inch height advantage. The running backs must also use this game to get their season going. No longer will the Zips offensive line be overpowered by stronger, more experienced defenders. Kent State has surrendered 180 rushing yards per game. Expect Dennis Kennedy to shrug off his slump with a big game.
The theme: Julian Edelman is a dual-threat quarterback in the purest sense of the term. But don't forget about the diminutive Eugene Jarvis, who has steadied the offense as a tailback and receiver out of the backfield. After three games, Jarvis nearly holds the team lead in receiving and rushing yards. But coach Doug Martin insists the team likes to travel through the air.
Kent State entered the season, much like Akron, in search of some receivers. Shawn Bayes has stepped up to catch nine passes for 139 yards. He's only 5-foot-10 but one of the Golden Flashes' fastest players. Tight end Tom Sitko (from Hoban) is another favorite target for Edelman.
Key players: QB Edelman, RB Jarvis
How the Zips can stop them: Contain Edelman. Contain Edelman. Contain Edelman. I hope Jim Fleming has had nightmares of KSU's QB having 20 yards of open greenspace before him on third-and-9. Let me help out. Blitz a lot. Make one of the safeties into a QB spy. Akron's athletic linebackers have succeeded in limiting tight end catches so far, so Sitko shouldn't be much of a threat. Trust your cornerbacks to cover Bayes on an island. They did fine against James Hardy and Brian Robiskie. Are you telling me Bayes is going to be that much harder to cover, especially considering the Zips will get better pressure on Edelman than they could on Kellen Lewis or Todd Boeckman?
Julian Edelman and Doug Martin told the ABJ's Stephanie Storm their plan on offense.
It's basically the same as last year.
Run the hurry-up offense to keep the Zips on their heels. Take advantage of Edelman's mobility and Eugene Jarvis' running ability. Then take shots downfield.
OK. Let me put it to you this way... Akron is a talented defensive team. No question about that. If the coaches can't figure out a plan to stop the same freaking scheme that burnt them last year, no one should keep their job. This is a rivalry game, a division game and a game that will affect attendance the rest of the season for both teams.
I like J.D. Brookhart. He's a nice guy. He obviously knows football. He's a great leader and excellent recruiter. But he MUST win this game, or at least show dramatic improvement from last year's debacle.
The PD's Elton Alexander reports that Darryl Roberts and Brett McKnight (the true freshman, not the one who played last year) will become academically eligible in December.
Carlton Jackson will start Saturday against Kent State in the home opener.
As I predicted, Jackson showed his ability more clearly in a live game than during practice situations, where it is difficult to gauge running ability.
Brookhart added that Jackson still needs to take care of the ball better, which was evident watching the Florida native carry the ball like a loaf of bread while running.
I didn't expect J.D. Brookhart to make a public decision until gametime. Why? He has always been secretive in regards to his quarterback situations. In press conferences last season, he said "CJ" would backup Luke Getsy. Jackson and Chris Jacquemain share those initials, so it wasn't so helpful. Further, the coach repeatedly delayed his quarterback decision during camp, naming Jacquemain starter only a week before the opener against Army.
Zips rover and general lunatic on the football field, John Mackey earned the MAC East Defensive Player of the Week award.
He made 13 solo tackles, including three for loss, in Akron's loss at Indiana Saturday. You won't find a player in the MAC who plays with more fire than Mackey.
Ideally, Carlton Jackson will be Kellen Lewis one day.
More ideally, Jim Fleming concocts a scheme to contain mobile quarterbacks like Lewis.
Akron lost 41-24 today at Indiana, mainly because the Hoosiers' passer became a runner to the tune of 198 yards on the ground. However, in the wake of 14 consecutive punts at Ohio State, the Jackson-led offense kept the team in the game.
Despite the score, the Zips' defense played a solid game. On third downs, however, Lewis extended the drives by scrambling for large chunks of yard. On two other third downs, referees flagged Davanzo Tate for pass interference on star receiver James Hardy. The calls were questionable. No. Let's be honest. The calls were bogus. Both of those penalties extended drives on which Indiana scored touchdowns.
With Julian Edelman, Kent State's mobile quarterback, looming, Akron needs a plan to contain the passer. As we saw last week, the Zips have good talent on defense. Their base defense is effective against a traditional pro-style quarterback. When the passer scrambles, however, you might as well have a flag football defense on the field. Forget tackling the QB; Akron's defenders aren't even laying hands on him until he is 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. I repeat: This is a coaching issue, not a personnel issue. If it's not cured by Saturday, the Zips will lose. No question in my mind.
Here's another beef I have with the today's coaching. Down two scores with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, J.D. Brookhart opted to punt. These decisions are really aggrivating me. It's similar to last week when Akron refused to throw down field against Ohio State when the Zips were losing by two scores. Hello!?!? You play to win the game! Forget the final score. Either you win or you don't. It almost appears like Brookhart is playing to beat the spread, rather than the opponent. What happened to that maverick who went for the win at NC State last season?
But there were positives in today's loss. For one, Jackson's play elevated the expectations from the quarterback position. Brookhart has more than just a game manager. Jackson is a playmaker. The coaches "decided" the starting quarterback in August, but like I suggested, the competition never really is over until the platoon ends. Jackson took over for Chris Jacquemain after four unimpressive drives. Jackson threw two touchdowns and ran for a third. Unless the coaches are really stubborn, Jackson will start Saturday against Kent State.
While the passing game came together, Zips fans should be concerned about the running backs. What has been the problem? First down. The Zips are a running team. That's how the team was built over the spring and fall. When it's second-and-9 or worse, it forces Joe Moorhead's hand to pass. If the offensive line and backs focus on gaining at least four yards on first down, the entire offense will run more smoothly as the coaches intended.
The theme: This is a speedy defense, which works fine for a Big East team, but not so much against the Big Ten. The Hoosiers aren't physical enough to be a good run stuffing team. They aren't experienced enough to stop the pass. So far, the team has beaten Indiana State (D-IAA) and outscored Western Michigan. The Broncos didn't have much success running the ball last week, but quarterback Tim Hiller was able to throw for 343 yards and three touchdowns against the Hoosiers.
That begs the question, Does Indiana have a better run defense this year? Recent history would indicate "probably not." The Hoosiers began last season with two excellent efforts in the trenches. Then the returned to form by allowing the mighty Salukis of Southern Illinois to trample for 244 yards on the ground. Fool's gold? I'd say so.
Key players: CB Tracy Porter, LB Geno Johnson
How Akron can score: Dennis Kennedy needs to start running with a purpose. Maybe it would have been futile anyhow against Ohio State, but the running backs must carry this offense until the passing game comes together. This is a chance for the Zips' offensive line to show its talent. Hey, maybe the tight ends will even show up for this week's contest in Bloomington ... Naw. The bottom line is that if Akron gets behind early, Joe Moorhead must open up the playbook for Jabari Arthur to show his worth. These passes to the flats on third-and-8 are starting to bug me.
The theme: Run a little bit. Hit the possession receiver to move the chains. Then, when swing for the fences. That has been Indiana's game. All-world receiver James Hardy has caught from Kellen Lewis six passes for 180 yards. Lewis is a pretty good passer, but Hardy has a way of making QBs look good.
The running game is a weakness. Marcus Thigpen has been able to rush for only 3.7 yards per carry against Indiana State and Western Michigan. Lewis helps the cause with his mobility. He's actually the Hoosiers' leading rusher with 118 yards on the year. With Kent State coming next week, containing Lewis should be good practice for keeping Julian Edelman from scrambling.
Key players: QB Lewis, WR Hardy, WR Ray Fisher, K Austin Starr (No, Kiel. I'm not making that up.)
How Akron can stop them: Well, besides not wanting to confront Mr. Starr, who shares a name with a mid-card pro wrestler, the Zips MUST, repeat MUST, not let Hardy get behind the defense. As you can see from his stats, he's a big play receiver with first-round NFL talent. Hardy is 6-foot-7, so the Zips might want to borrow Jimmy Conyers for this game. In all seriousness, Akron needs to rely on the run defense to hold up against a pee-wee attack, spy Lewis with perhaps Andre Jones, assign the other safety exclusively to Hardy and hope the other defensive backs can stay with Fisher, who is a solid possession receiver.
Patrick McManamon wrote an excellent column about the Browns trade of Charlie Frye.
After reading that, can you really justify keeping Romeo Crennel -- or Phil Savage? Can you justify playing this season? Why doesn't the NFL come with a fast-forward button to next year's draft? Oh wait, we don't have a first-rounder, and therefore no shot at Arkansas' Darren McFadden.
A buddy told me yesterday he doesn't think the media has been hard enough on the Browns organization. This is truly a disgusting effort in team management and personnel decisions. Savage came to Cleveland as a good evaluator of talent, and Kamerion Wimbley shows he is at least proficient in it. Besides that, he's a terrible GM.
And Crennel? By hiring him as a head coach, you took him away from his strength (defensive planning) and put him in a managerial role, one in which he doesn't know his head from a hole in the ground (isn't that how the metaphor goes?). After Crennel is fired in Week Three, look for defensive coordinator Tood Grantham to take over. But couldn't that be just another example of a good employee at one level becoming a terrible manager at the next?
Marty Schottenheimer is available. So is Bill Cowher. So is Bill Parcells. These guys are good leaders, managers. After all, why hire the league's best coordinator to be your head coach? What if the best leader is lower on the totem pole? That's why the Steelers (a real NFL organization) nearly hired Russ Grimm, their offensive line coach. That's why Mike Thomas hired J.D. Brookhart, who was a receivers coach at Pitt. Edit: Brookhart also was the offensive coordinator at the same time. Doh!
I tell you what, the Zips better stay in contention in the MAC or this will be the most pointless football season Northeast Ohio has seen since 1998.
Zippy's not doing so hot in the Capital One Bowl standings.
Help her out with your vote today.
Here's the plan... Vote every time you return from the john. By my estimation, each of my 3,000 readers uses the restroom three times per day. If half of them remember to vote after each trip to the commode, Zippy easily will make up the 2,000 votes he is behind Cav Man (from UVa).
Does the Republican Party need a replacement for Karl Rove? I'll be job hunting around spring 2010.
The Plain Dealer is reporting the Browns have traded Charlie Frye to the Seattle Seahawks for a sixth-round draft pick.
Frye is slated to be the third QB behind Matt Hasselbeck and Seneca Wallace.
As if Zips fans needed another quarterback issue, rumors have the Browns ready to cut either Charlie Frye or Derek Anderson.
As soon as I saw Brady Quinn's field vision in the first preseason game, I knew Frye's time as "the man" in Cleveland was over. It might actually be best for Frye to get a fresh start, although Week Two of the regular season is a bad time to be looking for a new team.
I have never seen a game in which fan reaction is so inconsistent. Some are thrilled Akron kept with Ohio State for the first half. Others are irate the offense couldn't capitalize on five turnovers.
In my opinion, both are right.
J.D. Brookhart can't ask much more out of his defense, which forced five turnovers and scored a safety. Special teams, too, were just that, with John Stec pinning the Buckeyes inside the 20-yard line three times.
Ohio State prevailed 20-2 this afternoon in Columbus, however, mainly because Akron's offense had no chance against the Buckeyes' swarming speed.
The Zips gained 33 rushing yards and 66 passing yards. The offensive line protected the quarterbacks fairly well, only allowing three sacks. Zips running backs, though, had little chance to even return to the line of scrimmage after many handoffs.
Akron scored its only points when Brion Stokes tackled Chris Wells in the backfield, which also happened to be the endzone. Without that safety, it would've been a complete skunking.
There are many positives for Brookhart to take away from the game. Through the forced turnovers, Akron proved it still has several playmakers on defense. Also, the defense could have done much worse stopping Wells, Brandon Saine and Maurice Wells. They combined for 211 yards on 41 carries. Pay attention to Ohio State the rest of the Big Ten schedule and you'll see them surpass that against most opponents.
Stec played the game of his career, booming 14 punts for 575 yards. His first-half performance, in particular, kept Ohio State from pulling away sooner. All of the special teams, in fact, played even with the Buckeyes.
The Plain Dealer's Elton Alexander writes about Dennis Kennedy, who transferred from Ohio State.
Jim Tressel told the ABJ's David Lee Morgan he hopes his team can avoid missed blocking assignments against the 3-3-5 defense.
The Columbus Dispatch outlines the Buckeyes' history of near upsets by smaller schools. The one I remember most vividly was an overtime win against Marshall in 2004.
The Dispatch also talks about Tressel's duties with Akron. Before Jim Dennison promoted him to full-time assistant, one of Tressel's chief duties was to order McDonald's food for the team after games. Oh, and he drove the coaches' wives to away games in a woody wagon. LOL.
The game starts at noon. For those of you living on campus, the university acquired the Big Ten Network for the next two weeks so you can watch it in the comfort of your (dry) residence hall. Most everyone else who is not in Columbus will be at a sports bar. I'll be at Johnny Malloy's.
The spread is 29 points, which I believe is way too high. Why? First, Akron played Ohio State in 2002 and lost by only 14. Of course, no player remains from that team. But most will agree the Zips have more speed, size and talent than five years ago. Given the geography of this "rivalry," Akron players usually are pretty pumped up to be playing in front of 100,000 people at a school maybe they believed should have offered a scholarship.
Second, Ohio State played I-AA Youngstown State last week and won by 32. Are the Penguins only three points better than the Zips? I will concede this: YSU did not commit a turnover. And that's the only way Akron stays competitive.
My prediction is 27-13, Buckeyes.
Corben Bone and Cody Arnoux scored goals to give Wake Forest a 3-1 lead with 15 minutes remaining in the game.
Akron improved to 2-0-1 with an overtime win over St. Bonaventure tonight.
Freshman Jordan Baranowski netted the deciding goal with 52 seconds left in the first overtime period.
The Zips rallied to beat Dartmouth tonight.
Akron's 7-1 record is its best start since 2001. It also matched its win total from last season.
Seven minutes remain in the first half, and the Demon Deacons tied the score at 1 on a Marcus Tracy goal from 14 feet.
If you're keeping an eye on this game, I suggest logging onto ZipsNation.org where some fans are chatting about it.
The Zips lead No. 1 Wake Forest 1-0 in the first half.
Ben Zemanski scored the goal off a Double-A assist.
Needless to say, a victory here would validate Caleb Porter's tenure and make the doubters go away for a few months. Also, it's likely the Zips would break into the nation's top five.
You can follow the action with Gametracker.
The theme: This is a defense that depends highly on its linebackers. Akron won't play another team with speed like this in the next decade.
Key players: LB James Laurinaitis, DE Vernon Gholston, CB Malcolm Jenkins
Weaknesses: The line is very inexperienced, especially now that sophomore Robert Rose is playing for the injured Lawrence Wilson. The pure talent of the young players might negate that in the Buckeyes' nonconference schedule. Rose impressed many in his limited time as a true freshman. The tackles, sophomores Doug Worthington and Todd Denlinger, possess great upside, too.
How the Zips can score: Jenkins will probably cover Jabari Arthur, so the Zips must utilize Stephon Fuqua, Brandon Williams and Alphonso Owen. The tight ends must be a bigger part of the gameplan, too. A two-dimensional attack (Arthur and Dennis Kennedy) simply won't work in Columbus, like it did in Cleveland.
The theme: After a year in which the Buckeyes broke from their traditional run-pounding ways, Ohio State has mostly returned to the ground game. Part of it is losing a top-10 NFL Draft pick at wide receiver and Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback. The other part is having a stable of running backs that any team in the nation would envy.
Key players: RB Chris Wells, RB Maurice Wells, RB Brandon Saine, QB Todd Boeckman, WR Brian Robiskie, TE Brian Hartline
Weaknesses: Ohio State isn't very deep at wide receiver. Also, Boeckman will be making only his second career start.
How the Zips can stop them: The Buckeyes didn't put up huge numbers in last week's 38-6 win against Youngstown State. Nor did they try to. Three quarterbacks saw time. The Zips' best chance to stop the Buckeyes is to frustrate them early in stopping the running game, then relying on their secondary's talent to force turnovers from the inexperienced Boeckman, who played well last week. If Akron can get a lead, Ohio State won't run as much. The young passing attack of the Buckeyes could show nerves at the prospects of another titanic upset over a Big 10 team. That might lead to turnovers.
Those are a lot of maybes, but that's the Zips' best chance to keep Ohio State from securing a blowout win.
Akron is the 18th best team in the country, according to the new national poll.
The Zips will fight to keep it this weekend with games against No. 1 Wake Forest and North Carolina, a team that received votes just shy of the top 25.
Charlie Frye will start Sunday against Pittsburgh.
The organization devoted two high draft picks to acquire Quinn, so he is the future. Phil Savage has said so explicitly. And Quinn has looked good in the preseason in regards to arm strength, accuracy and not staring down receivers, like Frye is prone to do.
As a Frye fan, I hate to admit this, but the former Zip is auditioning this season for his next team. His only hope is a repeat of the Drew Brees/Philip Rivers scenario in San Diego, which already shows some applicable parallels.
Publications often amend their "style" for various reasons.
That being said, I am tired of checking and rechecking the spelling of Anthony Ampaipitakwong's name. From here on, I will refer to him as Double-A.
After earning offensive MVP of the Westfield Cup, Double-A earned MAC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Defensive tackle Jared Ceccetti could return from his broken foot to start at Ohio State, depending on how he looks tomorrow.
Coaches expected him to miss five to six weeks after his injury, which occurred Aug. 20. Coming back by Sept. 8 would mean he recovered in three weeks.
His return will push Eric Lively back to nose guard. Wallace Pendleton will lose his starting job.
On the subject of the defensive line, J.D. Brookhart was pleased with his backups. Mitchell Magloire, Shawn Lemon and Viktor Rajek each provided "quality snaps."
Rajek is particularly an interesting person. As you may have known, he was on the Slovakian bobsled team at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Listening to Brookhart, it's clear Rajek absolutely loves American football. He got his first taste in Oklahoma as part of an exchange program. Upon seeing a locker with his name on it, Rajek wept.
He began his career at Akron as a wide receiver, but the coaches moved him to defensive end. The athleticism of the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Slovak is what makes coaches drool most. Rajek has spent countless time studying the nuances of his new position, but Brookhart suggested he won't be prepared to start until he adds some weight.
Freshman Steve Zakuani redirected a shot to the back of the net to score the winning goal against Alabama-Birmingham tonight.
The Zips beat the Blazers on the game's lone goal, giving Akron the Westfield Insurance Cup title, despite being a man down for all but five minutes of the match after Elliott Bradbrook earned a red card.
Akron players took home the tournament's offensive and defensive MVPs (Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Corey Sipos, respectively).
The Zips will travel south to play Wake Forest and North Carolina this weekend.
Props to the first place teams of 40oz to freedom, johnnyzip84, MostlyRight and BLM's Picks.
Each correctly guessed 13 games. Nine of the 24 teams, including yours truly, sit at 12.
I plan to talk with J.D. Brookhart tomorrow about the Zips' game against Ohio State.
It's hard to explain how Chris Jacquemain felt after Akron's 22-14 win Saturday night.
He had recently completed an underdog charge to win the starting quarterback job. He was playing in the stadium of his hometown pro team in front of friends and family from nearby Mentor. And he performed pretty well.
"It was one of the best feelings of my life," he said with a facial expression that indicated he was close to emitting tears of joy.
Jacquemain completed 14 of 24 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate game action. More importantly, he limited mistakes, which is the trait which earned him the job in the first place.
Army's defense was porous and ineffective at rushing the passer, so it's not a performance that will define his career. Still, it showed Akron will have a quarterback who can manage the game and give the team a chance to win.
"Everything slowed down after the first possession," Jacquemain said.
Nine of Jacquemain's passes found the hands of Jabari Arthur, who perhaps played his best collegiate game yet. He caught 11 passes total for 125 yards, including an acrobatic touchdown grab.
"We got on the same page," Arthur said of his connection with Jacquemain.
Coach J.D. Brookhart praised both players after the game.
"Chris did a nice job of executing," he said. "With the new offense, he's only going to get better."
Arthur looked like an adolescent participating in an elementary school pickup game. Army single covered him, and got burnt. Then the Black Knights double covered him, and still got burnt. The coach added that Arthur's talent helps a quarterback look good.
"Jabari makes you look right a lot," he said. "You don't have to be perfect or precise."
The defense also deserves a lot of credit. Army constructed just one scoring drive. (The other touchdown was off a blocked punt that occurred after the result was fairly certain.)
Reggie Corner intercepted a pass for a touchdown. Brion Stokes was active, tallying six tackles (three for loss), a sack and a forced fumble. Davanzo Tate intercepted a pass and broke up two others.
Akron effectively rushed the passer in blitz situations, particularly from the weak side. Quarterback David Pevoto took several blind-side hits.
"Defensively, I thought we played hard," Brookhart said.
Of course, in beating an awful team by only eight points, not everything went to plan.
Igor Iveljic missed an extra point on Akron's first touchdown. Stec's punt-turned-touchdown could have been a lot more devastating. Army's Wesley McMahand found some success, rushing for 84 yards on 21 carries.
It was still a win. And it allowed Akron an exhibition contest before serious college football begins Saturday in Columbus.
"I think we grew up a little bit in areas we needed to grow up," Brookhart said.
Can you believe Michigan lost to Appalachian State?
Me either. The Mountaineers became the first I-AA team to beat a I-A top-25 ranked team. Almost always, the talent discrepancy is too great to make for even a competitive game.
NC State, for example, beat ASU last season. Akron went on to beat the Wolfpack the next week.
Let me be the first to tell you this is the biggest upset in college football history. Sure, Boise State's victory was a terrific game, but the Broncos still earned a spot in the Fiesta Bowl to begin with. Appalachian State came to the Big House without reasonable expectations of making it a close game.
I tried to explain it to my ex-girlfriend by saying it's like if the Aeros swept a seven-game series against the Bronx Bombers at Yankee Stadium.
I love you, college football.