And Akron was all about the moral victories last year, when actual victories were not possible. At some point they will want to turn all their hard work into actual wins, and perhaps the first game of the year against UCF, picked fourth in the AAC and ranked 37th in the AP Preseason poll, is not the time to expect a win. But they were nearly shut out, save for a Nick Hirschman touchdown throw to Imani Davis with 1:04 left in the game.
The game was already out of hand six seconds into the season as UCF's Blake Bortles heaved a catch-and-throw TD to Breshad Perlman for a 91-yard touchdown. And then from there it got slightly better, as in no more 90-yard passes. But they allowed 483 yards (7.5 per play).
Offensively we saw some of the unfamiliar names we'll see this year: Kyle Pohl had an accurate game, at least (17-for-22, 100 yards) with an interception, and based on that you probably won't see Hirschman, the Colorado transfer, see more playing time, at least not yet. Their star player Jawon Chisholm (at least the lone Akronite on our top 68 list) was wholly ineffective (11 carries, 10 yards) but guys like Conor Hundley and D.J. Jones had a couple nice runs, combining for 99 yards on 16 rushes. On the receiving end, nine different players caught passes, but none more than three, and the leader by yards was true freshman Fransohn Bickley with 26.
The best game for Akron was probably done on the other side of the ball, where defensive tackle Nico Caponi (another person I considered vouching for on the MAC 68 list) recorded two sacks and also forced a fumble. The second star: Zach Paul also averaged nearly 48 yards per punt. The third star we will put in a lockbox and save that for next week.
Hopefully they will play much better when they host James Madison next Saturday. Or if you just want to jump right into a good Akron football team, their soccer team opens at College of Charleston tomorrow night.