The Akron Zips open MAC play coming off of a huge blowout win at Louisiana. The Zips are starting to look like they have an identity on offense, as Thomas Woodson was stellar in his first start of the season. Last season, he made his first career start at Ohio, throwing for 268 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 picks. It was a mediocre performance that involved telegraphing passes and forcing a few throws. Since, he's lost 30lb. and looks like he's learned a lot.
Akron's defense continues to impress, as it was expected to. It currently stands at 40th nationally in total defense, giving up 333.3 yards per game.
The Ohio Bobcats could have easily come into this matchup undefeated, if not for a three-point loss at Minnesota last week. As the Bobcats lined up for a 53-yard field goal, a timeout was called and the ball was kicked after the whistle blew. Because they kicked the ball, they were flagged for delay of game, and the ensuing play didn't result in a touchdown.
Their three wins have come at Idaho and at home against Marshall and Southeastern Louisiana. So far, quarterback Derrius Vick has exceeded expectations, completing 68% of his passes while throwing 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions (both at home). The Bobcat defense is playing well, too, as it was expected to coming into 2015, holding opponents to 362.5 yards per game.
Players to watch
Akron QB Tommy Woodson: For the third week in a row, Woodson makes my list of players to watch. This is because there has been a very small sample size of his play. Last week, he was great, throwing for 238 and running for 93 while racking up 3 touchdowns. The Ohio defense will be a tough opponent, and we may find out who the real Thomas Woodson is.
Akron LB Dylan Evans: With Justin March graduating after 2014, Evans finally got his chance to start, and he's been everything that defensive coordinator Chuck Amato could ask for. He has 38 total tackles through three games, as well as 4 pass deflections and and interception.
Ohio QB Derrius Vick: Vick is currently listed as probable following an ankle injury suffered at Minnesota last week. This will likely prohibit his ability to run, and Akron's defense will bring pressure to force him to make a play with his feet. He did not play in the game against Akron last year.
Ohio WR Sebastian Smith: Smith leads the Bobcats in receiving through four games. He has 15 catches for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns, with one coming in each of the past three games. If Vick has to stay in the pocket and the strong Zip front seven shuts down A.J. Ouellette and Daz Patterson, Smith could be heavily targeted on Saturday.
Quick game info
This is the 32nd meeting between the two programs. Ohio leads the all-time series 18-12-1, including seven consecutive wins dating back to 2008.
Game time, date: Saturday, October 2, 2015 at 2:00p.m. EST
Location: InfoCision Stadium Summa Field (Capacity 30,000) in Akron, Ohio.
Streaming: The game will be available on ESPN3 with commentators Michael Reghi and Jerod Cherry.
Radio: The game can be heard in Akron on Akron' Fox Sprts 1350 AM, which is available on iHeartRadio. Ohio fans can hear the game on the Ohio IMG Sports Network, which is available at OhioBobcats.com.
Odds: Ohio -2.5 as of Friday, October 2. More college football odds can be found here.