The Akron Zips (3-3, 1-1) will travel to face the Bowling Green Falcons (4-2, 2-0) in a Mid-American Conference East Division matchup Saturday afternoon. Bowling Green has racked up six straight wins in the series, including a 27-10 win as a 3.5 point underdog on the road on November 4, 2014 in the most recent matchup.
Akron won for the third time in four games as they cruised past Eastern Michigan 47-21 last week. Bowling Green won their third in a row as they flattened Massachusetts 62-38 at home in a shootout. This one kicks off at 3:00 pm ET from Doyt Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio and will be available on ESPN3. Bowling Green is currently an 11.5 point favorite with the over/under set at 67.5 points in this contest.
After leading just 14-7 after one quarter, Akron blew the doors off by outscoring the Eagles 26-7 in the second quarter to take a 40-14 edge at halftime. The Zips outgained the Eagles 500-413 in the game and forced three Eastern Michigan turnovers while not committing a turnover in the game. Akron added a safety on a blocked punt in the contest. The Zips dominated the time of possession battle as they held the ball for 36:32 to Eastern Michigan’s 23:28 and rolled up 28 first downs.
The Zips have offensive issues as they average 196.2 yards per game (89th in the nation) through the air and 176.2 yards (65th in the nation) per contest on the ground. Akron is putting up 26 points per game on the scoreboard while they are 38th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 20.5 points a game. Three quarterbacks have seen action for the Zips and they’ve been dreadful: they’ve completed 44.7 percent of their passes for 1,177 yards with eight touchdowns and four interceptions while averaging 6.92 yards per pass attempt. Thomas Woodson has seen the majority of the snaps; he’s 57 of 110 for 898 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions while ranking second on the team with 269 yards plus two scores on the ground. The Zips average 4.3 yards per carry on the ground with Conor Hundley leading the team with 85 carries for 474 yards and six scores; Donnell Alexander (53 carries, 243 yards) is the second back in the system. Imani Davis (19 receptions, 293 yards, 2 TD) is the team’s leading receiver; Tyrell Goodman (10 catches, 82 yards) is one of the other two players with double digit catches while Jerome Lane (12 grabs, 346 yards, 4 TD) is a big play threat. Robert Stein has hit all 19 extra points and seven of 10 field goal attempts.
Bowling Green put up double digit points in each of the four quarters as they cruised to the win over the Minutemen. The Falcons put up a terrific 725 yards of offense in the game to make up for the fact that they allowed 516 yards. Bowling Green forced two turnovers while committing one turnover of their own. The Falcons picked up 37 first downs and dominated time of possession by holding the ball for 37:17 in the contest. Matt Johnson was 33 of 39 passing for 450 yards with five touchdowns and one pick.
The Falcons are 2nd in the nation as they light up opposing defenses to the tune of 435.3 yards per game through the air; they average 169.3 yards (71st in the nation) a contest on the ground. Bowling Green is tied for 28th in the nation as they score 40 points per game and stand 112th in the nation in scoring defense by giving up 36.3 per game. Matt Johnson, the senior, has been brilliant running the offense as he’s hit 69.1 percent of his throws for 2,534 yards with 19 touchdowns against three interceptions plus 124 yards and two scores on the ground. Travis Greene is the main man on the ground with 81 carries for 473 yards and four scores; Fred Coppet chips in 66 carries for 367 yards plus a score. Four players have reeled in at least 28 passes this season: Roger Lewis leads the team with 48 grabs for 902 yards and seven scores while Ronnie Moore (39 receptions, 442 yards, 2 TD), Ryan Burbrink (28 grabs, 349 yards, 2 TD) and Gehrig Dieter (31 catches, 365 yards, 2 TD) all can move the sticks as well. Tyler Tate has hit 31 of 32 extra points but is only 5 of 10 on field goal attempts with a long of 40 yards.
Bowling Green is 4-1 ATS in their last five after throwing for more than 280 yards, 4-1 ATS in their last five overall, 24-9 ATS in their last 33 after a straight up win of at least 20 points and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 after scoring at least 40 points. Akron is 2-5 ATS in their last seven after a straight up win, 2-5 ATS in their last seven after an ATS win, 2-5 ATS in their last seven in October, 2-5 ATS in their last seven on the road, 4-10 ATS in their last 14 overall, 3-10 ATS in their last 13 on fieldturf and 2-9 ATS in their last 11 after picking up at least 450 yards in their last game.
The Falcons are an explosive offensive team and there aren’t a lot of teams in the MAC or the nation for that matter, who can rival what they bring to the table. Akron had a good offensive game last week but they have struggled to move the ball through the air most of the season. Unless the Zips can grind the clock and keep the ball out of Johnson’s hands, Akron will have a world of trouble. Look for Bowling Green to win this one by at least 17, if not more.