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Akron Football Preview
by Matt Fargo - 07/29/2008
No. 111 Akron Zips
2007 Record ~ 4-8 SU ~ 6-5-1 ATS
Starters Returning ~ Offense (8) Defense (5)
It was only three short years ago that Akron won the MAC Championship for the first time in school history and made a trip to the Motor City Bowl. The Zips would have hoped that momentum moved forward but instead, they took a step back. They had five win two seasons ago and four last year and that was more than it should have won. Akron was outgained more than any other team in the MAC and in an improving conference, the Zips are in trouble as they return the fewest amount of starters of any other team.
The offense was the biggest disappointment last season as Akron finished dead last in the MAC in total offense and 111th in the country. Eight players return to that side of the ball but any improvement will be based on the play of quarterback Chris Jacquemain. He had a very tough time of it last season as he completed just 56 percent of his passes while putting up a below average 11/10 TD/INT ratio. He lost his best receiver in Jabari Arthur so things could be tough early on. The running game should benefit with a lot of depth.
The defense was largely responsible for keeping Akron in some of its games last season but now it is rebuilding time. Six starters need to be replaced including four-fifths (including rover) of the secondary. That is not good news considering the passing defense was the biggest weakness a season ago, allowing 224.9 ypg and 24 touchdowns through the air. The rushing defense had worse numbers and a worse ranking but that should improve this season with a lot of experience coming back.
The schedule starts tough and ends easy but it might be too late to make an end of season charge. Games at Wisconsin and Syracuse start everything out before the home MAC opener against an improved Ball St. team. A game at Army is doable but then Cincinnati comes to town. After that the three toughest MAC games are home while the four easiest are on the road and they miss three of the top four teams overall. It is likely another losing season is in the cards so tread lightly as the public may still be on the Zips side.