Chris Jacquemain did a good job at keeping the team moving. With 235 yards and no interceptions, it was a solid performance that gave Akron a chance to win.
Running back -- The only difference between Saturday and previous weeks for
Dennis Kennedy was that he did not break a long run. Still, it was an adequate game, and 124 yards is plenty to get a win.
Wide receiver --
Deryn Bowser played perhaps his best game as a Zip. His case of the dropsies disappeared for the most part. He caught several important balls that extended drives. The same goes for
Jeremy Bruce. I'm not sure why we did not see more of
Andre Jones, who was to share a starting job with
Alphonso Owen, according to the depth chart.
Offensive line -- The line gave up the most sacks it has all season (three).
Chris Kemme was called for holding before the end of the half, which pushed back a field goal attempt 10 yards (and Akron missed it). But even when the line was at its worst, it was still good.
Defensive line -- Outside of
Almondo Sewell, Akron's linemen had only one tackle. One tackle for two line positions? ONE TACKLE??? This is as sure of an indictment on the 3-3-5 as one can imagine. And who knows how good Sewell would be if he wasn't handicapped by this wild scheme. From what I hear, the players don't even like it. On top of that,
Joe Rash started instead of
Shawn Lemon. Super idea! Take out your best playmaker and insert a guy who hasn't made a productive play all season. (Correction: Rash DOES have one solo tackle). Safe to say, Rash's ZERO tackles on Saturday should show that was a hair-brained experiment gone wrong. There must be some accountability for that dumb decision, but I'll get to that later.
Doug Williams and
Aaron Williams make up a dependable group of linebackers. Doug Williams never reached the potential that I saw in him, but he is an average MAC linebacker. Grant has turned out to have one of the best careers of any linebacker at Akron. Aaron Williams and Thomas will provide a firm foundation for next season.
Boo Jackson had open receivers all over the place. He completed 20-of-28 passes for five touchdowns. Akron has some talented players in the backfield, but Jackson simply had too much time.
Special teams -- The coverage units gave up two touchdowns and one return that set up an easy score.
Chris Garrett is a good return man, but that performance was despicable. Also, the Zips allowed Ohio's punt returner
LaVon Brazill to run one back, so it's not just Garrett. On the bright side, the special teams recovered two fumbles in the fourth quarter.
Coaching -- I try to wait until the next morning to talk about the game in order to cool off and not say something I'd regret. ... That said, many coaching decisions this season have been poor. Benching Lemon is nonsensical. Not blitzing more often shows a basic misunderstanding of football. Boo Jackson has been plagued by miscues all season. Despite that, Akron thought it prudent to sit back and rely on its defensive backs to cover a super-speedy receiver in
Taylor Price, rather than putting pressure on Jackson and make him force a bad throw. You can point to the special teams gaffes, but these things happen to every team. It is the basic lack of player personnel decision-making that perplexes me. The defense needs an overhaul. And I'm not talking about the players. I think there is above-average MAC talent on the defense. However, I am wholly skeptical that Akron is playing its best players. I also believe that the defensive scheme puts the Zips in no position to take advantage of whatever talent happens to be on the field. ... Now, don't confuse this as a lack of support for
J.D. Brookhart. This team has overachieved by playing hard, disciplined football. Those are marks of good head coaching. He must consider changes to his staff, because in college football, the buck stops at the head coach's desk.