It is no secret that Central Michigan has dominated Akron on the football field in recent contests. Both squads, however, have serious implications riding on this game, ranging from a bowl bid to a short 12-game season. The Chippewas are riding a two-game winning streak, and hope to make a statement at InfoCision Stadium on Saturday. On the other hand, the Zips are still licking their wounds after a major beatdown at the hands of the MAC East-leading Bowling Green Falcons. This game can help them make their case for a bowl game down the road.
The Akron Zips (3-4, 1-2 MAC) lost in Bowling Green last week 59-10, in an all-around poor performance. The Zips fell victim to Matt Johnson (#MattyJForHeisman), who threw for five touchdowns in a rout. The Akron offense was outgained by nearly 300 yards, putting up a mere 262 compared to BGSU's 532. Terry Bowden's squad lost the turnover battle by a large margin, turning it over four times (two INT's, two fumbles), while the Falcons did not surrender the football once all game. The only major statistic that favored the Zips was time of possession, where Akron, oddly enough, possessed the ball for 32 minutes, compared to Bowling Green's 28.
The main issue for the Zips' offense was the passing game. Akron has used three different quarterbacks this season, starting with Kyle Pohl, then Tra'von Chapman, and now Thomas Woodson. Woodson was only able to put up 91 yards through the air, on 13 completions out of 28 attempts. He tossed a lone touchdown pass and two costly interceptions.
The Akron defense had issues stopping the powerful Falcons aerial attack, surrendering 412 total passing yards, 357 of which came from star BGSU QB Matt Johnson. They had better luck against the running game, however, they still allowed 120 yards on the ground. Regardless, the Zips defense's efforts proved fruitless as they gave up the most points in this game than in any other game this season.
On the other hand, the Central Michigan Chippewas (4-4, 3-1) came out of Muncie last weekend with a 23-21 victory. The Chippewa offense put up good numbers, with Cooper Rush throwing for over 300 yards for the third game in a row. He also threw for 2 TD's, completing 30 of 38 passes on the day.
The Central Michigan running game was also successful, as the Chips combined to run for 118 yards. Martez Walker broke out in this game, going for 86 yards on 19 carries. Jay Roberson also picked up some yards, rushing for 22 yards on the day, showing that he is a capable member of the Chippewa backfield.
Central Michigan's defense was able to stop the Ball State passing game. The Chippewa defensive secondary held Cardinals quarterback Riley Neal to 187 yards through the air and a touchdown. The Chips were also able to keep the running game in check, limiting the Cardinals rushing attack to 112 yards.
For the Zips, running back Conor Hundley will be a major part of their offense. He has run for over 500 yards and is the most consistent running back for Akron. The Central Michigan front seven will need to focus their attention on his talents to ensure they prevent him from getting big gains.
Akron's quarterback Thomas Woodson will need a big game against a stout Chippewa secondary. They have proven their strength with their success against top tier quarterbacks, such as Connor Cook. Woodson will need to perform at a high level in order to try to pull off a win over Central Michigan.
Cooper Rush is in store for yet another big game, and he's up against an Akron defense that gave up five passing touchdowns last week against Bowling Green. Rush has an opportunity to excel against a weaker pass defense in Akron this Saturday.