Massachusetts (0-9) at Akron (1-9)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 10, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: InfoCision Stadium (30,000) -- Akron, Ohio. Television:
None. Home Record: UMass 0-3, Akron 1-4. Away Record: UMass 0-6, Akron 0-5.
Neutral Record: UMass 0-0, Akron 0-0. Conference Record: UMass 0-5, Akron 0-6.
Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Massachusetts Minutemen attempt to snap the FBS' longest
losing streak as they travel to InfoCision Stadium to duel the Akron Zips in a
matchup between two squads stuck at the bottom of the Mid-American
Conference's East Division.
This will be the first-ever matchup between these programs on the gridiron.
UMass, Akron, and Eastern Michigan are the only teams from MAC without a win
in league action entering this week.
UMass is currently on a 12-game losing slide dating back to last season. The
Minutemen have not had an ideal tour of the MAC in their inaugural year as a
member of the league. UMass has lost all of its games but one by double-digit
margins, which has led to an 34.1 point average margin of loss for Charley
Although the Zips are far from their inaugural season as an FBS program, they
have only been slightly better than the visitors in 2012. Akron was
mathematically eliminated from the race for the MAC's top spot weeks ago and
enters on a seven-game losing slide. Coach Terry Bowden has made a positive
impact in his inaugural season at the helm of the program despite its
unattractive 1-9 overall record. The Zips dominated Morgan State, 66-6, in
their lone win of the season and came up just short in overtime losses to FIU
and Ohio University. Akron played tough its last time out, but still suffered
a 35-24 setback to the first-place Kent State Golden Flashes.
The UMass offense has yet to catch up to the higher level of competition, as
it puts up just 267.9 ypg and ranks last in the FBS in scoring (10 ppg).
Mike Wegzyn threw all four of his touchdown passes this season a few weeks
back versus Ohio University, but otherwise he has found next to no success
under center, completing 52.1 percent of his passes for 149.3 passing ypg,
with seven interceptions. A.J. Doyle has also seen action, but he too has
played poorly as a reliever (25-of-52, 162 yards, five INTs, one TD).
Deion Walker (42 receptions, 490 yards, two TDs) has proven to be a reliable
target for Wegzyn, and Alan Williams (22 receptions, 231 yards, three TDs) has
been a factor in the red zone.
Michael Cox is the team's lead back, but his production has been rather
pedestrian with 128 carries for 569 yards and three touchdowns. As a team, the
Minutemen average just 2.8 yards per rush attempt.
While the offense has certainly struggled, the defense has also done little to
impress (44.1 ppg, 481.1 ypg). UMass allowed NIU to gain 610 yards of total
offense last week, which is the highest amount amassed by an opponent this
The increased volume of work has made Perry McIntyre one of the top tacklers
in the nation (92 tackles, 4.5 TFL). Darren Thellen (56 tackles) has two
interceptions, but as a team UMass has created only 11 takeaways in nine
The Zips had one of the least productive offenses in the FBS last season with
mere averages of 277.8 yards and 14.2 points per contest. Bowden's no huddle
philosophy has led to 436.7 yards and 27.6 points per game. The Zips rank
first in the MAC and 14th in the FBS with their 315.6 passing yards per game
average after gaining 312 yards through the air in last week's loss to Kent
Senior transfer Dalton Williams was relatively unknown when he arrived on
campus this past off season from Stephen F. Austin with just a single year of
eligibility remaining. Bowden is getting the most out of his quarterback, who
is averaging just under 47 attempts per game and has a 24-to-12 touchdown-to-
interception ratio. Williams paced the team by going 30-of-41 passing, for 312
yards and two TDs with zero INTs last week.
Williams's favorite target is Marquelo Suel, who has tallied 685 receiving
yards and four touchdowns through 10 games. Zach D'Orazio, Keith Sconiers,
L.T. Smith, and Dee Frieson also play vital roles in Akron's spread attack.
Junior wideout Jerrod Dillard is the most reliable option in the red zone and
leads the team with eight touchdown receptions.
While Akron clearly emphasizes passing in its offense, Jawon Chisholm is a
capable tailback. The sophomore has picked up 803 yards on the ground this
season after finishing just 39 yards shy of 1,000 last year as a rookie. A
shoulder injury kept Chisholm out versus Central Michigan on Oct. 27, but he
returned last week to gain 117 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts.
The Zips are not an intimidating team defensively. Bowling Green is the only
one of their nine FBS opponents to be held under 30 points. Akron ranks 104th
out of 120 FBS programs in total defense with an allowed average of 461.4
yards per game.
Kurt Mangum is the leading tackler with 91 stops, 41 of which are solo. J.D.
Griggs is a force up front with 5.5 sacks, which is the eighth most in the
Akron's offense has proven to be a productive unit, while UMass is completely
lost when it has the ball. Bowden and the Zips should be able to pick up their
second win of the season, which will double last season's total. Cox needs to
be productive for the Minutemen to stand a chance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Akron 42, Massachusetts 17
11/07 10:41:11 ET