As the Akron Zips reach the one-quarter pole of the 2008 season, we know one thing: they love playing schools from the State of New York.
Akron WR Andre Jones: MAC East Offensive Player of the Week
Three weeks ago, the Zips went to Syracuse and defeated the Orange 42-28 at the Carrier Dome. Last Saturday, they traveled to the United States Military Academy at West Point and registered a 22-3 win over the Army Black Knights at Michie Stadium to even their record at 2-2 for the third time in the last four years.
It was a big win...A good win, hard fought win Zips head coach J.D. Brookhart said
Akron recorded over 300 yards in total offense for the fifth consecutive game dating back to last season in their 22-3 win over the Cadets last week.
Offensively, I thought we did some good things. We moved the ball, but we struggled converting those yards into points Brookhart lamented We need to be able to finish drives better than what we are finishing
Zips' tailback Dennis Kennedy, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, led all rushers in the game with 73 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown. He currently leads the Zips on the ground this season with 227 yards on 45 carries with two scores which is also good for tenth best in the MAC.
Akron quarterback Chris Jacquemain rebounded from his four interception game the previous week against Ball State. He went just 14-for-25 passing for an economical 204 yards and a second quarter touchdown to Jones but had no interceptions against Army. He is currently sixth in the MAC passing, averaging 240 yards per game, sixth in total offense at 234.5 yards per game and seventh in passing efficiency at 130.3.
The Zips' defense held Armys triple-option attack to just 223 total yards and had five turnovers (four fumbles and an interception). They allowed the Cadets just 63 yards passing but Army attempted just 13 passes in the game, completing seven.
I thought defensively, the ability to execute assignments against a brand new scheme (the triple option) was a real question mark for us, but we changed up schematically to do that. The triple option is a hard offense to defend Brookhart added.
The five turnovers gives Akron a +4 rating in the giveaway/takeaway category which leads the MAC. In addition, the defense has created 12 turnovers (eight fumbles and four interceptions) in the first four games which is sixth in all of the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Akron returns to the Rubber Bowl looking for their first home win of 2008, their final season at the facility, before moving next season to InfoCision Stadium on campus.
They face the 2-1 Cincinnati Bearcats from the Big East Conference who routed the Miami Redhawks last Saturday at UCs Nippert Stadium 45-20 as junior quarterback Tony Pike, in his first collegiate start, passed for 241 yards and three touchdowns.
Pike was playing for senior Dustin Grutza who suffered a high ankle sprain, and a fractured right fibula in the Cats 52-26 loss in week two at Oklahoma. Cincinnati was hoping to have Ben Mauk as their starter but the NCAA denied his request for a sixth year of eligibility.
The 'Cats went 10-3 last season (4-3 in Big East play), their best record in school history, with key wins over Oregon State, Rutgers, South Florida, and Connecticut earning them a bid to the Papajohns.com bowl where they defeated Southern Mississippi in Birmingham 31-21.
They opened the 2008 campaign with a convincing 40-7 home win over Eastern Kentucky from the Football Champion Subdivision before being blown out at top-five ranked Oklahoma 52-26. The game with Akron starts a two-game road trip for UC where next week they play a Marshall before opening Big East play at home against Rutgers.
Even though Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly is in his second season with the Bearcats, he is no stranger to Brookhart or the Akron Zips. He was the head coach at Central Michigan from 2004-06 going 2-0 in those head-to-head matchups.
NOTES: Just the fifth lifetime meeting between the two schoolsseries is tied 2-2 with Cincinnati winning the last meeting 20-14 in 2006 in the Queen CityThe only other meeting at The Rubber Bowl came in 1989 (31-0 Akron win)The game will be televised by FSN OhioAlex Allen-AKR is out for the remainder of the season with a foot injuryMiguel Graham-AKR had two fumble recoveries in the game last week giving him three on the season tying him for first in all of the FBS with Southern Californias Clay Matthews JrAkron 10-26 lifetime against the Big EastCincinnati is 91-101-12 vs. MAC (44-42-5 minus games against Miami).Cats defense has forced at least one turnover in their last 17 gamesBearcats did not punt once against Miami, first time since 1998 vs. MemphisUC Athletic Director Mike Thomas held the same position at Akron from 2000-05