Saturday might be the most pivotal game in J.D. Brookhart's career.
After a turmoil-filled week, his team is up against a dominant offense that beat Michigan State and came within 13 points of Arizona. Both games were on the road.
Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour hasn't gotten the hype of MAC quarterbacks in the past because scouts don't believe him to be a sure-fire pro prospect. If I had to pick MAC quarterback (past or present) to win a game, I would take LeFevour. His leadership and ability to play running back and quarterback with equal skill have made CMU into a perennial power that consistently wins the close games.
It would have been nice for Akron to play a creampuff on the Saturday after the team suspended two players and a coach. Rather, the Zips will play a team that has a high propensity for embarrassing opponents. That is what Brookhart cannot afford.
The line has not moved since Tuesday, despite the bad news that the program has faced. CMU
is favored by 16.5 and the over-under is 55.5.
Tom Gaffney wrote a fascinating
Manley Waller. Read it.
Here is this week's discussion of the MAC Roundtable.
has won six of seven games against Akron.
LeFevour is five passing yards from 10,000, according to
MLive.com. Only six MAC quarterbacks have reached that landmark. LeFevour needs only 25 completions to tie Leftwich for the MAC record in that category. In that story, Brookhart said his strategy will be to run for 3.5 yards per carry and never give the ball back to LeFevour.
Here is what I wrote about CMU on June 3. Back then, 72 percent of voters believed that the Chips would beat Akron.
Brookhart's strategy is the only logical one. He can't hope to air it out with
Matt Rodgers vs. Dan LeFevour. The problem is that no Akron running back has proven he has the ability to be a featured running back.
This game is a fork in the road. The adversity can be a rallying point, where the offensive line somehow figures it out and the defense stuffs CMU on critical third downs. Or the Zips can fall flat and let LeFevour march over them. The outcome might determine who is coaching the Homecoming game Oct. 10 against Ohio.
I think Akron can compete with CMU, but it's really hard to say how the team will deal with all of the negative news.
Akron 24, Central Michigan 42