Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Despite both living in the MAC East, the Falcons and Zips meet for the first time in three seasons.
The MAC East vs. West divisions have always bugged me because in very specific situations I cannot handle asymmetry. The football divisions have been like that for a while, with six in the West and seven in the East. As a result, once a year two teams from the East do not play each other. More specifically, the last two years that "lapse" game has been Bowling Green vs. Akron. To this day I believe the Falcons could've been bowl eligible had they played the Zips instead of, say, Northern Illinois.
Alas, they completely avoided a chance to play a Rob Ianello-coached team, and that would cheese anybody.
This year that "lapse" game is UMass vs. Kent State, giving the Falcons a chance to rekindle some type of fading memory with the Zips. When the Falcons last played them, the year was 2009. BGSU won the game 36-20, clinching bowl eligibility. Tyler Sheehan just kept passing to Freddie Barnes in that game, which they did often that season, because it worked. Akron had Patrick Nicely under center, and he always played nicely, but not nice enough, causing Akron to fire J.D. Brookhart.
That was then. Since 2009 both teams are quite different. In fact the scripts have reversed a little bit. Akron is now the one who can score at will, and BGSU is trying to keep games close. Dave Clawson's offense finally exploded for 48 points on Rhody, but Akron did them one better that same day with 49 points against Miami, a number slightly augmented because Miami was also routinely kicking off to them after their own touchdowns.
Offensively for the Falcons it should be a slightly more difficult test, and I say SLIGHTLY, since Akron has allowed a total of exactly 200 points against four FBS opponents. Akron's finest defensive showing was holding Florida International to 38 points in regulation. They did keep Morgan State to a measly six points, for what it's worth. So to see a number next to BG's logo in the realm of 35 points wouldn't be surprising, even if Ryan Burbrink is physically unable to play.
Defensively for the Falcons, hold on tight. They're going to pass, they'll pass some more and they'll even run it effectively. Dalton Williams has made the most of his fifth year of eligibility and I'm still waiting for running back Jawon Chisholm to have that breakout game this year. The latter does not concern me as the Falcons defensive line has been rather solid, but the secondary has been a question mark in some games, notably the Toledo one.
My instinct is to expect a game where both teams hit the 30s, but in actuality the Falcons defense is likely better than I imagine it annually. BG keeps Akron in the 20s and with any other luck will post a MAC win against Akron, something they haven't had a chance to say in three years.