"An Obligatory look" is back for the third year and I think I'm gonna retool it a bit. Just a new coat of wax, some polish and a couple other accoutrements to make the old girl a little more attractive. With that, onward…
About the University
The University of Akron is a public university located in Akron, Ohio. It was founded in 1870 as a small college affiliated with the Universalist Church. In 1913 ownership was transferred to the City of Akron. In 1967 the university became a state institution. The University of Akron is regarded as a world leader in polymer research.
University of Akron Professor of Polymer Engineering and Applied Mathematics Dr. Arkadii Leonov has come up with a novel means to stop a hurricane. The concept, under patent application and titled "Hurricane Suppression by Supersonic Boom," reveals that hurricanes can be destabilized with the ultrasonic boom produced by jet fighters. Leonov explains that jets, flying at supersonic speeds clockwise around an eye of a hurricane, would suppress the storm.
Well… fighter jets sure, but where's superman when you need him, he can create a sonic boom and Hurricanes are inherently evil so… artist's rendition please:
Football related datum
Current Record: 0 – 0
Last year's Record: 5 – 7
Number of returning starters: 14 (9 Off – 5 Def)
The scary side of things
Senior QB Chris Jacquemain threw for 2,748 yards and 20 TDs completing 57.9 percent. He's a three year starter and has four of his top five targets back including All-MAC receivers Andre Jones and Deryn Bowser. Bowser led the team with 64 receptions for 785 yards and 4 touchdowns. Experienced QB and WR combination vs. green secondary without best corner = bad news.
Gone is 1,000-yard rusher Dennis Kennedy but there won't be much drop-off thanks to talented redshirt freshman DeVoe Torrence who originally signed to play with Ohio State before deciding on the Zips. Yes that THE Ohio State. Torrence was rated 64th nationally in the ESPN 150 list in 2007.
Akron ranked 46th or better in all offensive statistical categories and scored 30 points per game to rank 30th in 2008. They averaged just under 400 yards per game and were very balanced coming in ranked 45th and 46th nationally in rushing and passing. With a new running back and Penn State's secondary woes though, look for Akron to "zip" (har har) the ball around all day.
Both kickers are back but neither are much to speak of. Punter John Stec did average 37.1 yards per punt last season.
As scary as…
A bump in the night – the kind of strange noise that wakes you up. Yeah it's a bit unnerving, but it's probably just nothing so just go back to sleep and wake me up when it's the end of September.
The not-so-scary side of things
Akron's 2008 defense was horrid. They ranked around the century mark in Scoring (31 pts.), rushing (187 yards) and Total (387 yards). They were a slightly more respectable 61st against the pass but I suspect that most teams rammed the ball down their throats and didn't need to pass.
Akron plays a 3-3-5 scheme led by linebacker Mike Thomas whose 85 tackles in 2008 is the best among the Zips returning defenders. Lineman Almando Sewell anchors the line and had 14 tackles for loss a season ago. CB Miguel Graham leads the secondary and had 70 tackles and 3 interceptions in 2008 while safeties Jalil Carter and Wayne Cobram also return.
Look for Akron to pass first (their strength) and test the fresh secondary (PSU's weakness) early. Unless the defensive line gets pressure early and often the Zips will have success passing the ball. Running the ball against the teeth of PSU's D with three new starters on the Akron offensive line ain't gonna happen but I think Akron will move the ball and score. On the flip side, PSU will test a defense that had trouble stopping the run and get Royster and the new offensive going before adding in some basic pass plays. I have a sneaky suspicion that Andrew Quarless will have a much more expanded roll this year, at least until the wide receivers get some game experience. Quarless has the most experience of any of the receivers and he's a senior, Joe's gonna get him the ball.
Penn State 45