Game time: Noon ET
Venue: InfoCision Stadium, Akron, OH
Where to watch: ESPN+
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Kent State -13
BetMGM: Kent State -13.5
Caesars: Kent State -13.5
Kent State: 5-5 (4-2 MAC)
Akron: 2-8 (1-5 MAC)
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Kent State - Akron preview and analysis
Kent State: lost 54-30 at Central Michigan
Akron: lost 45-40 at Western Michigan
The biggest game in the MAC West division isn’t in the middle of the week, which seems weird given the MAC’s game placements over the last few weeks.
But no, the drama has been set for the Kent State Golden Flashes. They need a win against the Akron Zips on Saturday to set up a winner-take-all matchup with the Miami-Ohio RedHawks to determine who goes to the conference title game.
The RedHawks won 34-7 this week against the Bowling Green Falcons.
The winner of that week will face the Northern Illinois Huskies in the title game.
Alas, the Flashes will be trying for their third straight victory over Akron in the Wagon Wheel Rivalry. Kent State will need to rebound after losing by 24 to the Central Michigan Chippewas last week on the road.
Quarterback Dustin Crum threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns, but the Kent State defense couldn’t stop the dominant attack of CMU quarterback Daniel Richardson (268 yards, 4 TD) and freshman running back Lew Nichols III (215 yards, 4 TD).
Kent State’s sudden surge to the top of the conference standings has withstood a defense that has given up 36.8 points per game heading into this matchup, but fortunately, the Flashes are facing an Akron team that has failed to score and not play defense at all.
The Zips have lost four in a row and are coming off a bye week. Akron lost 45-40 at the Western Michigan Broncos on Nov. 9. It turned into a banner day for Akron quarterback Zach Gibson, who threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns. The problem was Akron gained 391 yards total and got no help from the running game while the Akron defense allowed 533 total yards to the bowl-eligible Broncos.
You look at this matchup and wonder what exactly is the purpose of Akron. Are the Zips really ready to play spoiler? Considering how close they were from knocking off Western Michigan in comeback fashion, maybe there is that inkling, but man, it doesn’t seem like they have a chance against a team that has something to play for. Kent State by 17
Kent State is 1-5 ATS on the road this season.
Kent State is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 November games.
Akron is 1-11 ATS in its last 12 as a home underdog.
Akron is 0-7 ATS in its last seven following a conference loss.
Passing: Dustin Crum -- 2,414 yards, 13 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Marquez Cooper -- 814 yards, 9 TD
Receiving: Dante Cephas -- 907 yards, 7 TD
Passing: Zach Gibson -- 1,151 yards, 10 TD
Rushing: Jonzell Norrils -- 433 yards, 3 TD
Receiving: Konata Mumpfield -- 684 yards, 8 TD
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