After their five game winning streak was snapped following the 35-17 loss to No. 16 Northern Illinois last week, Toledo looks to rebound against the Akron Zips on Friday. Don't take Akron lightly, a 4-7 (3-4 MAC) record doesn't tell the season story for the Zips. This is the same Akron team that came within one play of beating the Michigan Wolverines at the Big House, and the same team that nearly beat the Northern Illinois Huskies, falling 27-20 earlier in the season. With the Rockets looking to rebound after a disastrous loss last week to Jordan Lynch and the Huskies, Akron could have the Rockets right where it wants them.
Akron comes into Friday's contest against Toledo having won three of its last four games. The Zips also enter with the MAC's third-best team defense, allowing just 397.8 yards per contest. A big key to the game for the Rockets' offense will be to shut down two of the top pass rushers in the league on the Akron front line in seniors Nico Caponi and Albert Presley, who have combined for thirteen sacks thus far this season.
Following the return of senior running back, David Fluellen last week, Toledo head coach, Matt Campbell said Fluellen is "doubtful" to play in Friday's game against the Zips. Fluellen carried the ball just fifteen times against the Huskies last week for a total of 54 yards. The Rockets' running game may still be able to get going against the Zips' front-seven despite Fluellen's absence since true freshman Kareem Hunt has been explosive this season. However, Akron is allowing just 158.1 rushing yards per contest which ranks fourth in the MAC.
The struggle for Akron comes on the offensive side of the ball, where the Zips have been abysmal this season. The Zips rank tenth in the MAC in scoring per game, averaging just 19.2 points per contest, and were barely able to squeak out a 14-13 victory against the UMass Minutemen in their last game on November 16. Sophomore quarterback, Kyle Pohl leads the Akron offense and has thrown for 2,179 yards and eleven touchdowns this season.
Last season, the Rockets defeated the Zips 35-23 in the Glass Bowl. Being on opposite sides of the MAC, Akron and Toledo have just met three of the previous fourteen seasons. This will be Toledo's first game in Akron Infocision Stadium, a 30,000-seat stadium built in 2009. With a victory, Toledo could improve to 8-4 overall and greatly improve its post-season bowl opportunities.
Toledo vs. Akron can be seen on ESPN3 beginning at noon.