Here's my grades from the blowout...
Chris Jacquemain passed well. He just didn't play well. Luckily, the offensive line was an awesome shield, or else his hold-onto-the-ball-til-it-turns-purple policy would have led to a bevy of sacks. The mistake to end the first half was inexcusable and certainly cut off all Akron momentum.
Running back --
Bryan Williams purposefully hit holes and looked like a top-tier MAC running back. A platoon with
Alex Allen should give the Zips one of the MAC's better running attacks, especially when the offensive line plays like it did Saturday.
Wide receiver --
Stephon Fuqua caught six passes, but it was mainly the same old story of
Jabari Arthur playing like a superstar. I'm tired of looking for words to describe him, so we'll just leave it at that.
Tight end --
Kris Kasparek: one catch for five yards. That's all there is to say. I didn't see any dropsies, though.
Offensive line -- This is the line's most complete game. They played a physical defense, yet still opened holes for the running backs and protected Jacquemain. The Zips' passer had insane amounts of time. UConn didn't blitz much, but the line did its part regardless.
Defensive line -- The Zips did a great job of controlling the line of scrimmage in the first half. Then the Huskies bowled it over after halftime.
Nate Robinson would have been a big help in keeping the players fresh. He's a 315-pound plug upon which a 3-3-5 set relies.
Almondo Sewell continues to be a pleasant addition.
Linebacker -- It was a tale of two halves for the linebacking corps, too. (Goodness gracious, I loathe that cliche.)
Wayne Cobham and
Amin Kabir combined for only half the usual production from
John Mackey. Speaking of Mackey, is there any chance the defense would have self-destructed with the Walsh Jesuit product on the field, threatening to rip open his teammates' ribcages if they dared take a play off?
Doug Williams and
Kevin Grant made a few nice plays.
Secondary -- This unit played its worst game of the year, but it still wasn't very bad.
Andre Jones hauled in an interception. UConn passed for 203 yards.
Punting -- Plain and simple: The Zips can't play the field position game if
John Stec doesn't put more leg into his punts. His 40.5-yard average is respectable, but the first-half punting was subpar. I'm not in practice, so I don't see and hear everything, but when will Andy Hildreth get a shot?
Place kicking --
Igor Iveljic continues to be nearly perfect.
Matt Domonkos is booming the ball off the tee. Life is good.
Coaching -- I now recognize the purpose of the roll-out punt. It lends itself well to a fake. But why waste it against a nonconference opponent? The playcalling has progressively improved as the coaches become more comfortable with the quarterbacks. The real talking point is: Should
Carlton Jackson have played? My instinct is to say "yes." If you're the underdog, you want your best players on the field. Period. But I will defer in part to
J.D. Brookhart's judgment. If he truly thought the team would benefit more from his message of discipline than from having its best quarterback play, then so be it. Here's one thing I do like: Brookhart's focus on the MAC East games. You play to win every game, but you also understand that the games in Oxford, Athens, Toledo, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Kent State come first. Some fans are complaining the coaches failed to make adjustments at halftime. Adjust to what? Akron was winning the yardage battle. If not for a couple boneheaded plays and bad punts, the scoreboard would better reflect that. Akron got tired. Last week, the Zips emptied their bank accounts against Kent State -- physically and emotionally. I'll cut them some slack for not playing a full 60 minutes like they did last week. Blaming the coaches here is short-sighted.
Around the MAC...
Ball State blew out Buffalo, 49-14. The Cardinals, in my opinion, should be in the top 25. All that is preventing that is a dropped pass at Nebraska.
Army beat Temple, 37-21. The Owls are up and down -- the signs of a young team. That could make them dangerous on Homecoming in two weeks.
Central Michigan wasted Northern Illinois, 35-10. The Huskies outgained the Chips by nearly 150 yards but could not recover from six turnovers.
Miami upset Syracuse 17-14 in Oxford -- one week after the Orangemen shocked the football world by outscoring Louisville. The RedHawks did it by dominating the line of scrimmage, gaining 286 yards on the ground.
Eugene Jarvis trampled Ohio for 230 yards in Kent State's 33-25 win at Dix Stadium. It's good to know
Frank Solich's defense didn't reload, as he was accustomed to at Nebraska.
Bowling Green beat Western Kentucky 41-21, despite surrendering 311 rushing yards to the D-IAA foe. 311? Yikes. The Falcons could have lost if not for intercepting four WKU passes.
Vanderbilt beat Eastern Michigan, 30-7.
Western Michigan accumulated nearly 500 yards of offense against Toledo's ole defense. The Broncos -- Akron's next foe -- won, 42-28.
My MAC power rankings...
1. Ball State 2. Western Michigan 3. Bowling Green 4. Central Michigan 5. Miami 6. Akron 7. Kent State 8. Ohio 9. Toledo 10. Northern Illinois 11. Buffalo 12. Eastern Michigan 13. Temple