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2018

Akron

College Football

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Akron surpassed expectations last year winning the MAC’s East division with a 6-2 conference record, although finished at 7-7 overall. The Zips lost in their two postseason games and more losing looks likely with a difficult non-conference slate in 2018. With a lack of returning talent and a new defensive coordinator, the Zips have an over/under of 4.5 wins at 5Dimes Sportsbook with +3000 odds to win the MAC.

Sophomore Kato Nelson may be the quarterback of the future, but he led the offense to just three points in the bowl loss to FAU. He’s a dual-threat QB, although managed just 2.2 yards per carry and a 48.8% completion percentage in five starts. Those numbers won’t cut it with numerous new faces around him from an offense that only scored 22 points per game. The Zips need to build around three starters on the line and if there’s no improvement there, more struggles could be ahead. They averaged just 3.3 yards per carry and the hope is that Van Edwards (348 yards) and Deltron Sands (173 yards) can do a little more. Receiver is unknown as a sophomore that had four receptions last year (Andre Williams) is expected to be the top option. Nelson may be an exciting player, but he has some work to do.

The defense at least returns experience with eight starters and 10 seniors, which is rare to see. At Coordinator, Todd Stroud and Joe Tresey replace Chuck Amato so there could be some issues with the change. Either way, the defense should be the strong suit of the team even after mediocre numbers last year allowing 28 points per game. There’s talent at every level from Jamal Davis at end to All-MAC performers linebacker Ulysees Gilbert and cornerback Kyron Brown. There is returning experience, but Akron gave up more than 440 yards per game last year, including 34 or more points in three of the final four games.

Similar to last year, the Zips will likely lose three of their first four with difficult trips in non-conference play. To have a chance at a bowl, they have to win their home games and maybe steal a road game or two. The schedule isn’t overly difficult, but it isn’t easy and expecting more than four conference wins may be a stretch. Trips to Buffalo and Ohio will be difficult, as will home games against Miami and NIU. That could be four losses right there so betting the over means Akron has to win the other four games and with this offense, that’s not a guarantee. Akron’s path to a bowl game is through defense and with new co-coordinators, that’s a hard thing to back.

 

2018 Akron Zips Football Schedule

Sept. 1 at Nebraska 

Sept. 8 vs. Morgan State

Sept. 15 at Northwestern

Sept. 22 at Iowa State

Oct. 6 vs. Miami (OH)

Oct. 13 at Buffalo

Oct. 20 at Kent State

Oct. 27 vs. Central Michigan

Nov. 1 vs. Northern Illinois

Nov. 10 at Eastern Michigan

Nov. 17 vs. Bowling Green

Nov. 23 at Ohio

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