The Central Michigan Chippewas (4-4, 3-1) will travel to the Buckeye State as they take on the Akron Zips (3-4, 1-2) in a Mid-American Conference matchup Saturday afternoon. Central Michigan has won six straight and nine of the last ten meetings between the teams, including a 35-14 win at home as a 7.5 point favorite on October 27, 2012 in the most recent matchup.
Central Michigan won their second straight and third in the last four games with a 23-21 win on the road over Ball State. Akron was blown out 59-10 on the road by Bowling Green for their second loss in three games. The game kicks off at 2:00 pm ET from InfoCision Stadium in Akron, Ohio and can be seen on ESPN3. Central Michigan is currently a 3 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 45.5 points.
Central Michigan rallied from a 14-10 halftime deficit they faced after Ball State scored on the final play of the first half to get the win. The Chippewas overcame a pair of turnovers in the game; they forced one Ball State turnover and allowed a kick return for a score. Central Michigan outgained Ball State 434-299 and picked up 20 first downs while limiting the Cardinals to 17 first downs. The Chippewas’ biggest advantage came in time of possession as they held the ball for 36:42 while Ball State had possession for only 23:18 in the contest.
The Chippewas are a terrific passing team as they are 20th in the nation in passing offense (305 yards) while they are just 121st in rushing with an average of 103.1 yards per game on the ground. Central Michigan scores 28 points per game, which is 73rd in the nation; the Chippewas currently are 48th by allowing 23.6 points per contest. Cooper Rush continues to be the driving force behind the offensive attack for the Chippewas as he’s hit 208 of 298 passes for 2,400 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven picks. The run game has been stifled for the most part as the Chippewas average just 3.1 yards per attempt on their 269 rushing attempts. Jahray Hayes is second on the team with 59 carries for 228 yards and two scores while Devon Spalding (52 carries, 182 yards, TD) and Martez Walker (75 carries, team high 243 yards, 2 TD) are in the mix as well; none have done much to seize the job. Jesse Kroll is the team’s leading receiver with 41 receptions for 550 yards and four scores; Anthony Rice (32 receptions, 374 yards, 2 TD), Ben McCord (28 catches, 415 yards, 4 TD) and Mark Chapman (27 grabs, 398 yards, TD) are good options as well. Brian Eavey has hit all 24 extra points and 13 of 17 field goal attempts with a long of 47 yards.
Akron was in the game against Bowling Green for the first quarter but was outscored 52-3 over the final three stanzas in the blowout loss. The Zips were outgained 532-262 and allowed 27 first downs while picking up only 16 of their own in the contest. Akron committed four turnovers; three touchdown drives for the Falcons started on the Akron side of the field in the game. The Zips did manage to control the time of possession battle by holding the ball for 32:02 to Bowling Green’s 27:58; that just made the Falcons’ outburst that much more impressive.
The Zips have offensive issues as they average 183 yards per game (102nd in the nation) through the air and 173.6 yards (65th in the nation) per contest on the ground. Akron is putting up 23 points per game on the scoreboard while they are tied for 59th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 26 points a game. Three quarterbacks have seen action for the Zips and they’ve been dreadful: they’ve completed 45.5 percent of their passes for 1,281 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions while averaging 6.41 yards per pass attempt. Thomas Woodson has seen the majority of the snaps; he’s 70 of 138 for 989 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions while ranking second on the team with 311 yards plus two scores on the ground. The Zips average 4.2 yards per carry on the ground with Conor Hundley leading the team with 101 carries for 543 yards and six scores; Donnell Alexander (60 carries, 257 yards) is the second back in the system. Imani Davis (22 receptions, 294 yards, 2 TD) is the team’s leading receiver; Tyrell Goodman (11 catches, 96 yards, TD) is one of the other two players with double digit catches while Jerome Lane (16 grabs, 391 yards, 4 TD) is a big play threat. Robert Stein has hit all 20 extra points and eight of 11 field goal attempts.
Central Michigan is 8-1 ATS in their last nine overall, 7-1 ATS in their last eight on the road, 6-1 ATS in their last seven on fieldturf and 4-1 ATS in their last five in October. Akron is 2-5 ATS in their last seven after a straight up loss, 3-8 ATS in their last 11 conference games, 4-11 ATS in their last 15 overall, 2-8 ATS in their last 10 after a straight up loss of at least 20 points and 3-12 ATS in their last 15 after allowing at least 450 yards of offense.
The Chippewas win last week was the first time all season where they failed to cover the line; that shouldn’t be an issue in this contest. Akron has major issues on the offensive side of the ball and they have issues with good passing games, as we saw last week when Bowling Green carved the Zips up. The Chippewas should win their third straight here with a double digit victory.