In this installment of the ZHK, we will break down SU’s 2nd opponent, the Akron Zips.
This is the home opener for the Cuse, and thanks to my negative prediction last week of a loss to Northwestern, AD Darryl Gross can safely estimate an opening day crowd of 27K to watch us battle this MAC foe. On a side note, any chance of building some kind of rabid fan base with this blog probably went south with that pick too. Oh well, at least my pick was etched in pencil. But seriously, many fans will be taking a hard look at the program this season and that first game will either bring a full chorus of vitriol on Greg Robinson or maybe it could signal a Rich Brooks led Kentucky like resurrection of the program, or maybe neither.
Now back to the Zips.
What we know:
The Zips went 4-8 last season with wins over Army, Kent St, Western Michigan, and Ohio. Losses were to Ohio St, Indiana, UConn, Temple, Buffalo, Bowling Green, Miami OH, and Central Michigan. The Zips really struggled on Offense, ranking 97th in scoring, 90th in rushing (although at 127.8 yds per game its more than double our total 62.8 per game), and 100th in passing yds. The offense returns 7 of those starters, including All-Mac left tackle Chris Kemme.
On the positive front, Akron broke ground on a new on campus football stadium. On the not so positive front, expect Akron to lose 5 scholarships thanks to the NCAA. The defense plays an unconventional 3-3-5 defensive set. Only 4 starters return on D and to put more talent on that side of the ball, All-MAC RB Bryan Williams moved to the secondary. Several transfers from BCS schools (Miami, WV, Iowa) are expected to fill in and play critical roles.
Chris Jacquemain runs the offense. He may be pushed by redshirt frosh Matt Rogers. To continue to mock our spring fling, Akron split their team into a Blue vs Gold matchup and played a full game. None of this offense vs defense crap.
Most pundits are picking Akron as a middle of the pack team in the MAC with a potential to contend if things fall into place. The Quad ranks Akron as the #103 team out of all Div-I schools.
Akron sports NFL Man of the Year/Dancing with the Stars runnerup Jason Taylor as a prominent alumni.
Why we can win:
On paper, Akron appears to offer a one dimensional ground attack. With the sheer number of changes going on the defensive side, this game is tailor made for the offense to establish something positive on the ground. We also should have some success working in our youngsters at WR. The lack of productivity on the passing game for the Zips will alleviate our inexperience in the secondary.
Why we can lose:
Anyone that watched last season’s game against Miami Oh knows what we are capable of. Akron’s strength’s will be their OLine and depth of RBs. If they can run the ball and minimize mistakes they could hang around.
This game should shape up as a solid indicator of where the team is heading. Typically, teams show their greatest improvement between the first and second games. A decisive win would do well to put fannies in the seats for the remaining home schedule. Struggling in this game, will cause me to rethink the merits of blogging this program. Plus it all but guarentees that next week’s game w/ PSU will feel more like a game at the Happy Valley then a home game.
Fortunately I’m not picking that. I expect to see Delone Carter make a big splash and rush for 100 yards. This is a game that we shouldn’t miss the services of Instant Six (Who I will forever reference as Deep Sixed from this point forward). The knob is turned down to simmer on the Grob seat this week. Chisel this game in stone as the Cuse gets a nice win. Hope springs eternal as Penn St rolls in next week.
Next week on ZHK: Penn St.
Thoughts? Talk to the Hand…