By The Numbers:
A season ago these two teams faced off in Akron, with the UMass Minutemen getting the better of the Zips for the Minutemen's first win as an FBS program. It was a frustrating and disappointing loss for Akron. But this season, the Zips have already achieved their best season since 2009 and have a shot at quadrupling their wins from last year in this game.
UMass has one win on the season, against 0-10 Miami. The Minutemen have had a woeful year, and are averaging 11.6 points-per-game, while allowing nearly 33. They've yet to find any consistency at quarterback, rotating between Mike Wegzyn and A.J. Doyle due to poor play and injuries, and it's shown in the team's on-field performance.The team ranks near the bottom of the FBS in every offensive category, and will likely struggle against an Akron defense that's vastly underrated.
The Zips on the other hand have shown vast improvement from a year ago. They're averaging nearly 100 yards-per-game more through the air than UMass thanks to the play of first-year starter Kyle Pohl. Jawon Chisholm has turned up his production lately as well as Akron has won two of its last three games in large part due to him. Chisholm rushed for 403 yards and four scores in that span.
Names To Know:
Akron - Jawon Chisholm: The junior running back is one of the most dynamic players in the MAC. He possess great vision, and plus receiving skills out of the backfield. He took awhile to get going this season, but has really turned it on as of late and will be key to Akron's success.
UMass - Tajae Sharpe: The sophomore receiver has been the most steady offensive player for the Minutemen this season and has put up plus numbers despite playing on a struggling offense. Between Doyle and Wegzyn, Sharpe has hauled in 51 passes for 539 yards and three scores, and at 6-foot-2 poses a matchup problem for many corners in the conference.
Akron is a 7-point favorite in the game.
How To Witness:
The game is available for streaming on ESPN3 and through the WatchESPN app. It is scheduled to kickoff at 1 p.m. ET.
Can't Wtach? Listen Live:
Akron Fans: You can listen to the official Zips' game broadcast on SportsRadio 1350 AM WARF (Akron), 1420 WHK (Cleveland), 1440 WHKZ (Warren/Youngstown). You can also stream the broadcast online at SportsRadio1350.com.
UMass Fans: You can listen to the official UMass' broadcast on 105.5 FM WEEI (Springfield), 1440 AM WVEI (Worcester) and 95.9 FM WATD (South Shore). The broadcast is also available to stream online through www.UMassAthletics.com.