Ohio State Football, Sports

Ohio State/Akron Preview

09.06.07 | Comment?

Logo for Akron Zips

Saturday September 8th the University of Akron Zips travel to Ohio Stadium to play the Ohio State University Buckeyes. Full data about the starting line ups, key players, statistics, et al can be found in this excellent preview provided by Bucknuts. Rather than rehash those areas, I want to forecast how I believe the game will play out.

Akron travels to the ‘Shoe with a one game win streak having beaten Army 22-14 last Saturday. A solid start for the Zips against a DI team (something the Buckeyes can’t claim) – although, of 119 DI teams, Army has been perennially living in the bottom of the division and arguably in the last 10 years could be considered one of the worst, if not the worst, DI team (no offense to competing bottom-feeders Buffalo, Florida International, etc.)

In the game last week, Akron had a strong first half scoring 19 of their 22 points. The attack was balanced, but a little anemic with 133 rushing and 154 passing yards. Curiously, the return game generated more yards than either rushing or passing with 172. The defense got on the score board with a pick-six, held the Army offense to 58 rushing and 184 passing yards. Army managed only one sustained drive for a touchdown during the game. The summary is, this was a solid effort across the board against bad DI competition. As we know, the Bucks turned in a solid effort across the board in a win against good DIAA competition last week.

In week one, we wanted to see how Todd Boeckman would perform, what the running game looked like, how the defensive line would attack, and how well the secondary would hold up. The secondary and Boeckman exceeded expectations, the defensive line turned in an average performance, and the running game was a disappointment. This week, it’s going to be about reducing mental errors (5 false starts and 2 substitution penalties) and getting the running game going. Akron will be motivated and will not simply give up. That being said, unless there’s a “Michigan Meltdown” (remember, you heard that term here first!) the Buckeyes should get a step up in competition but turn in a similar result.

On the defensive side, I see one or two sustained Akron drives, one or two bad field position possessions, and one or two turnovers generated during the course of Saturday’s game. Let’s call it two sustained drives resulting in a touchdown and field goal and one bad field position situation yielding a field goal; that provides an offensive point total of 13. I don’t see the Akron defense picking up points in this contest. I do think the Bucks will substitute liberally throughout the course of the game to a) combat heat induced fatigue and b) understand how different players react in different live game situations. I do expect a better push upfront from the defensive line and that at least one turnover is forced during the course of the game.

On the offensive side, I think OSU scores on 60% of their possessions. There will be 10-12 possessions over the course of the game, so let’s go for the low end and call it 6 scoring drives. I think it’s likely that the majority are touchdowns, but a field goal or two would be good to get the unit game time practice. Call it 38 points with 5 TDs and 1 FG. Early going it may feel a little slow, but over the course of the game, I expect the improved offensive line play and running game to grind the Zips down.

So there you have it, a prediction of a 38-13 win. The spread today lists OSU as 28.5 point favorites…..I don’t think they cover this weekend, but I do think they win. We’ll revisit this after the game to see how wrong these predictions were. Enjoy the game and GO BUCKS!

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