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2016 MAC Football Preview: Western Michigan Broncos vs. Akron Zips

Welcome to ranked-ville, WMU. Akron hopes it’s a short stay

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

The undefeated Western Michigan Broncos (6-0) will roll into InfoCision Stadium on Saturday to take on the MAC East Division leading Akron Zips (4-2). The freshly No. 24 ranked Broncos will be under the microscope as they take on this inter conference foe for the first time since 2011.

The Zips last meeting with the Broncos in 2011 did not go as planned. The Zips fell to the Broncos 68-19. A helping hand from former Broncos quarterback, Tyler VanTubbergen, in that game as he threw six touchdown passes against the Akron defense. Western Michigan also dissembled Akron in 2010, as they won 56-10. A lot of things can happen in four years, I mean look at the Broncos, they are undefeated.

Western Michigan comes into this game the clear favourite. The Broncos have been brilliant so far this year. They have yet to concede a turnover on offense and are boasting one of the best offenses in the nation, averaging 44.8 points per game. The Broncos are also allowing only 20.5 points per game on defense, which leads the MAC. The sub par Akron defense is really going to have to step up if they are going to want to compete in this game.

The Zips are having themselves a pretty good season thus far. The Zips won their matchup last week as they beat the Miami Redhawks 35-13. The Akron offense has been one of the best in the MAC, especially with its new dual quarterback offense.

Tra’Von Chapman started the last two games due to starting quarterback Thomas Woodson being sidelined with an injury. Chapman has done very well in Akron’s last two games. Leading the Zips to back to back wins while accumulating 411 passing yards, 119 rushing yards, five touchdowns and two picks. In Woodson’s four starts, he has thrown for 1,247 yards and 13 touchdowns. The junior from Pennsylvania also holds the third best quarterback rating in the MAC, with a rating of 177.5%. Coach Terry Bowden said that both quarterbacks will get some work on Saturday.

NCAA Football: Akron at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

Do not be surprised if they rely on the arm of Thomas Woodson, a little bit more than the legs of Tra’Von Chapman. Western Michigan has been very good against the run this season, holding their opponents to a mere 130.7 rush yards per game. This will limit Chapman’s ability to use his quickness on the ground like he has in his last two starts.

With all the hype surrounding the Western Michigan Bronocos this week, you can tell that they are fired up to be ranked for the first time in their program’s history. The Broncos offensive dominance over the Northern Illinois Huskies last week proves that they deserve to be ranked.

That dominance is led by Zach Terrell and Corey Davis. Terrell threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns, while Davis posted 123 receiving yards and two touchdowns against the Huskies. Not to mention, a contender for catch of the year was made by Corey Davis in that game. Davis ran a goal line fade and made a seemingly impossible one handed grab over the Northern Illinois cornerback in the back of the end zone.

Davis’ crazy one handed catch:

One interesting matchup that will be fun to watch will be Akron wide receiver Jerome Lane going up against Western Michigan cornerback Darius Phillips. Phillips already has two interceptions returned for touchdowns, and is leading the MAC in interception return yards with 155. The 6”3 220 pound wide receiver out of Firestone high school in Akron, is fourth in receiving yards in the MAC with 517. Two top players at their positions for their respective teams. Will definitely be interesting to see which player emerges victorious come Saturday.

Akron’s defense is going to have be on its A game come Saturday afternoon. Akron is second worst against the rush in the MAC (174.3 yards per game), as well as second worst against the pass in the MAC (292.7 yards per game). Something that Akron is not happy about seeing is that the Broncos average over 470 yards of offense per game.

The Zips will look to put a blemish on the Broncos record this Saturday in Ohio. At the same time, Western Michigan will try to prove to the rest of the nation that they belong in the AP Top 25.