By Jacob Allen
The Akron Zips football team will look to begin conference play on a good note when they take on the Ohio University Bobcats on Saturday in the annual homecoming game.
The Zips come in at 2-2 following back-to-back wins over Savannah State and Louisiana-Lafayette. The Bobcats, meanwhile, are 3-1 after a tough loss to Minnesota. It will be the first of eight conference games for each team.
Akron’s offense has been a big factor in the previous two wins, thanks in large part to the emergence of sophomore quarterback Thomas Woodson. After not throwing a pass in the first two games against Oklahoma and Pittsburgh, Woodson has thrown for 445 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions while completing fifty percent of his passes. Woodson has also run the ball 22 times for 186 yards and two touchdowns.
The Zips are only passing for 181 yards per game, which is second to last in the MAC. Only Kent State has thrown for fewer yards in the conference. However, Akron does rank fourth in the MAC in rushing yards per game with 174.
The only Zip with more rushing yards than Woodson is senior running back Conor Hundley. Hundley has 51 carries over four games for 299 yards and four touchdowns. Donnell Alexander has also provided a spark for the offense rushing for 159 yards on 30 carries.
Also make sure to keep an eye on receiver Jerome Lane, who has caught seven passes for 228 yards with two touchdowns. Senior Imani Davis will also seek attention from the Bobcat’s secondary.
Keeping the ball off the turf will be a big factor also for the Zips, as Ohio has recovered six fumbles this season, which is more than any team in the country.
The Bobcats come in to this matchup flying high offensively. Ohio ranks third in the MAC in rushing with 175 yards per game and sixth in passing with 244 yards per contest.
Ohio is led by Lincoln, Nebraska native Derrius Vick at quarterback. Through four games Vick has completed 51 of his 75 passes for 742 yards with 6 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Finding a way to slow down the senior signal caller will be vital for an Akron victory.
The Zips will also need to find a way to stop the Bobcats two-headed monster at running back. Both Daz’mond Patterson and A.J. Ouellette have rushed for over 200 yards and have combined for 5 scores.
Ohio also has several pass catchers to look out for, as Sebastian Smith and Brendan Cope has each eclipsed over 200 yards, and Keith Heitzman, Papi White, and Jordan Reid each have reached the century mark in receiving.
These two MAC rivals will face off Saturday at 2 p.m. at InfoCision Stadium- Summa Field.