The more I think about it, the better that game was. Even Kent fans have to admit that the fans got a great show. For me, it was certainly the most exciting football game since the MAC Championship in 2005.
Akron fans were great. I sat with the giant AK-Rowdies crowd. They were surprisingly educated about the team (at least 20 of them were putting five fingers in the air to signify the need for Matt Rodgers, who wears No. 5). There was a beach ball, but my key put an end to it. When they patched the ball, Kiel Fleming grabbed it and I went Joe Pesci from Goodfellas on it. (Although we were in Kent, it's not a hippie concert. No beach balls at the Akron-Kent game. That's my policy. I will reimburse the owner if he so pleases.)
I was also impressed with Kent's renovations to Dix Stadium. It looks like a legitimate place to watch college football. Good for KSU.
Anyhow, the grades...
Chris Jacquemain played a horrid first half with three interceptions. Besides two important completions, he was only average in the second half. In essence, he steered the ship into a field of icebergs, then he successfully navigated through a labyrinth of them. It takes a whole lot of guts to change quarterbacks after a rivalry-game victory, but
J.D. Brookhart MUST give Rodgers a couple of series per half. Jacquemain has looked very good at times this year, but he did last year, too. (Remember his 80 percent completion percentage in the first quarter?) This offense has too much talent not to determine whether Rodgers is the better player.
Running back --
Dennis Kennedy ran for 23 yards on 15 carries. Why didn't we see more
Joe Tuzze? I commend the coaches for not tossing
Andrew Johnson into the game if he wasn't healthy enough. But if his injury persists, then the redshirt MUST come off
DeVoe Torrence. Akron has the talent
this year to win the MAC East. No one in the division is any good. You can't plan for Torrence's future when a division title is on the line. With Kennedy and Jacquemain in the backfield, this team will win no more than five games this year. I promise you that. This grade would be an F, except for the fact that Kennedy didn't fumble.
Offensive line -- Sitting in the end zone showed me that Kennedy DID have holes. Rather than plowing through, he pussyfooted. So the line deserves some credit. Also, Jacquemain was sacked only twice and the line committed only one penalty (a
Chris Kemme false start).
Wide receiver --
Deryn Bowser caught one of the biggest passes in team history. Despite the MAC referee's best effort, it counted.
Andre Jones also caught a touchdown. The two combined for 162 yards. The combination is one of the MAC's best. Bowser needs to work on his focus early in the game, however. The past two weeks, he has dropped a lot of passes in the first half.
Defensive line --
Almondo Sewell and
Shawn Lemon will be cornerstones of Akron's defensive line for the next two years. Despite them playing out of position (they are 4-3 defensive ends, not 3-4 tackles/ends), they are playmakers and operate with great energy.
Eric Lively's full return was nice to see, too. The starting linemen combined for 17 tackles and 4.5 for loss.
Doug Williams and
Mike Thomas each played OK. They had a total of 25 tackles, but Kent State still moved the chains too easily.
Julian Edelman is almost impossible to tackle, so I don't fault them for that too much. But
Jacquise Terry and
Andre Flowers seemed to get about six yards every time they touched the ball.
Secondary -- I want to talk about
Jalil Carter for a moment. This kid will be a stud. He has size, speed and aggression as a ball hawk. Against Kent, he seemed to always around the ball. Carter and
Manley Waller will be to the secondary what Lemon and Sewell are to the line.
Miguel Graham and
Bryan Williams played well as usual yesterday, too.
Special teams -- I don't know if anyone will agree, but I think
John Stec has had a pretty good season. He has consistently put a good boot on the ball.
Bryan Williams returned two kicks nicely. The real game-turning plays, however, were the punt return fumble recovery by
Tyler Campbell and clutch kicks from
Igor Iveljic. This unit won the game for Akron.
Coaching -- The team showed good effort and discipline again. However, I have these complaints. 1) Personnel problems -- You can't rely on Kennedy and Jacquemain. If they are the only options, then OK. But there is a good chance that Rodgers has All-MAC talent. There is a good chance that Torrence is the best ball carrier in the MAC. 2) Play calling -- Kennedy had struggled all game, yet he was still getting the ball with five minutes to go. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, according to
Albert Einstein. I'm sure he was talking about football. 3) The 3-3-5 is a terrible use of Akron's personnel, particularly against Kent State and Edelman. The next time Akron plays a run-oriented offense, this should be the starting lineup: DE -- Sewell and Lemon, DT -- Lively and
Dan Marcoux, LB -- Thomas, Grant and Doug Williams, CB -- Graham and Waller/Anderson, FS -- Carter and SS -- Bryan Williams.
In the next couple days, I will break down Bowling Green, which lost to Eastern Michigan on Saturday. By the way, I'm not getting e-mail notifications of comments on my blog. If you have a question for me, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.