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2021 Mid-American Conference Football Week 5 Game Notes: Ohio Bobcats vs Akron Zips

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We take a short but sweet look at what you need to know heading into the MAC opener between the ‘Cats and Zips

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 14 Ohio at Akron
Akron QB Kato Nelson in action against the Ohio Bobcats
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ohio (0-4) heads to Akron (1-3) looking for its first win under new head coach Tim Albin, spoiling the Zips’ homecoming in the process.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the contest:

  • Date and Time: Saturday, October 2nd at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Network/Streaming: ESPN3 (A valid cable subscription is required for viewing)
  • Radio:
  • Location: InfoCision Stadium in Akron, Ohio
  • Weather: Partly Sunny, with a high of 77 degrees
  • Line: Ohio (-9.5) per OddsShark.com
  • Series History: Ohio leads Akron by a record of 23-13-1.
  • Last Meeting: Ohio won over Akron 24-10 on Nov. 10, 2020.

Both teams come into the program struggling, but here is how they compare on a national scale:

The Ohio Bobcats

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Ohio at Northwestern Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Offense

  • Points Per Game: 13.8 (127th out of 130 FBS teams)
  • Yards Per Game: 313 (119th)

Defense

  • Points Per Game Allowed: 35.2 (118rd)
  • Yards Per Game Allowed: 442 (111th)

Notable Players

  • QB Kurtis Rourke: 598 yards passing, 3 TDs, 2 INTS, 66% pass completion, 68 yards rushing, 1 TD.
  • QB Armani Rogers: 55-yard TD run last week versus Northwestern
  • RB O’Shaan Allison: 278 total yards from scrimmage, 1 TD
  • RB/Kickoff Returner De’Montre Tuggle:L 1 kickoff return for score this season, 2 career. 2020 second-team All-MAC, offense and kickoff return teams
  • DE Will Evans: 11 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 passes defensed (PD)
  • S/Nickel Jett Elad: 22 tackles, 3 PD

The Akron Zips

Akron v Ohio State Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Offense

  • Points Per Game: 19.0 (112th out of 130 FBS Teams)
  • Yards Per Game: 323 (114th)

Defense

  • Points Per Game Allowed: 44.5 (129th)
  • Yards Per Game Allowed: 453 (116th)

NOTABLE PLAYERS

  • QB DJ Irons: 649 yards, 6 TDs, 3 INTS, 67% pass completion; 46 attempts for 182 yards, 2 TDs
  • QB Kato Nelson: 5,923 yards combined passing and rushing, 37 TDs accounted for over his career (injured, could return)
  • WR/Kickoff Returner Michael Mathison: 21 receptions, 247 yards, 1 TD
  • WR Konata Mumpfield: 18 receptions, 175 yards, 3 TDs
  • LT Xavior Gray: 6’9”, 315 LBS, 14 career games.
  • NT Bryce Wilson: 16 career games
  • LB Bubba Arslanian: Tied for eighth in the FBS in 2021 with 10.8 tackles per game, 2020 second-team All-MAC

For the Bobcats, the change to conference play is a welcome chance to get on track after the non-conference schedule left them winless and beat up on the interior offensive line. While all phases of the Bobcat squad have had its own challenges, the most realistic hope for immediate improvement is on the offense, which will in turn help the defense by giving them more rest.

While Ohio averaged just under 14 points a contest so far, the ‘Cats have just too many proven offensive coaches and players not to significantly improve. Look for Ohio to try to establish the run with All-MAC-caliber backs De’Montre Tuggle and O’Shaan Allison and then hit some explosive pass plays on the permitter and deep middle.

Meanwhile, Akron heads into Saturday with a squad that is clearly Arth’s best team so far, particularly offensively, where the Zips are averaging 19.0 points per game compared with Arth’s first season where they finished with 10.5 per contest.

The Zips feature two dual-threat QBs in Kato Nelson and DJ Irons who can lead the club effectively and a wide receiving corps quietly becoming one of the MAC’s better groups, featuring “M&M”, Michael Mathison and freshman phenom Konata Mumpfield, who have combined for 39 catches, 442 yards, and four scores in 2021.

Defensively, the Zips have a good shot to be strong on the interior in MAC play with NT Bryce Wilson (#0) doing the dirty work up front, allowing inside linebackers Bubba Arslanian and Michigan State transfer Jeslord Boateng to make plays.

Arslanian is the heart of the defense, ranked 8th in the FBS in tackles per game with 10.8.

In an evenly-match game, look for the winner of the turnover battle to come away with the win.