The Akron Zips were supposed to open against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, but mother nature and a lack of hotels in Lincoln had other ideas. Instead, the Zips started their season a week later against the Morgan State Bears, an FCS team that is trying to rebuild. With a young quarterback, that just might be better than throwing him in front of 90K screaming fans. Here are 5 things I learned from the Morgan State game.
Kato Nelson is a lot of things
The young QB solidified himself as the starter at the end of the season last year, and had some good games and some bad ones. Against Morgan State, he looked like one would expect. There were some bad passes, rushed throws, and poor decisions. However, he also ran well and threw well overall, which should make Akron fans excited. He has a big arm and is the type of player that can certainly win games. As a youngster, he looked like the type to lose them, too. With another off-season under his belt, he looked a lot more polished, but that might have to do with the level of competition.
Akron’s defense will still force you to beat them
Last season on their way to a division championship, the Akron Zips defense gave up a lot of yards, but forced teams to make plays to score. That bend, don’t break defense is still in play. While the opponent and style of offense played into the defenses’ hands, it was still apparent that the Zips will keep everything in front of them.
Akron’s receiving group might be a strength
10 different Zips had a least one reception in the opening. Kwadarrius Smith, possibly the best of the bunch, only had one reception, but it was for 35 yards and a TD. Smith still affected the game beyond that because of his speed, however. That’s good news for both the passing game and the running game.
Akron’s running game might not be terrible
Last season the Zips were dead last in rushing yards, and barely were over 100 yards per game. What is even more sad is that the team had QB that can run. This season the rushing attack might not be so bleak. While the line is not the type to blow people off the line, they did a good job of creating lanes on delayed runs. Van Edwards Jr was able to break the 100 yard mark all by himself in the opening game. That could be a trend that continues.
It’s still early
While I was excited watching the Zips offense, it was just an FCS opponent, and a not very good one at that. I did see a lot of things I liked, but I don’t know just how much the level of opponent means. While fast is still fast, like with Smith, it’s harder to judge the play of Nelson, as there was little pressure. One thing I didn’t like was that when the chips were down, the Zips were happy to leave it on the arm and legs of Nelson, which might cause some problems against better opponents.