Game 11: Akron at Buffalo
When: Saturday November 19th
Where: UB Stadium
Series History: Akron 9 - Buffalo3
Tickets: Here (Starting at 14$)
Akron is in the same spot as the Bulls, they have a second year coach with no place to go but up. Their 2010 season was almost as bad as Buffalo's and like the Bulls they face pretty much the same set of challenges this year as they did last.
I say "almost as bad" because Akron did beat us. despite the fact we won two games to their one . Akron also played a lot of close games and the Zips seemed to get better as the season went on. The Akron team that lost to Miami in the 4th quarter is not teh same one who choked away their game against Gardner Webb. That season long improvement is not something the Bulls could claim. Still squeaking by the Bulls in the final week of the season was probably the high point for Akron, a team that manged to lose to Gardner Webb, in overtime, earlier in the season.
Like The Bulls Akron's hope at a quick turnaround hinge on a Quarterback transfer from an AQ Conference and like the Bulls there is enough youth to worry about a repeat of last season. Both teams have fan bases that might consider a five win season a 'success'. Even though this game may not have post season or conference standing implications it may serve as an indication as to which program is doing a better job climbing out of the cellar.
Akron on Offense:
Akron had been a fast paced spread offense before Coach Ianello tried to implement the pro set. Like Buffalo the results of jamming in a fundamentally different offense in one year were disastrous. Akron finished second-to-last in the nation in total offense averaging and 118th in the country in scoring averaging a mere 15.58 points per game.
The zips will roll with a new Quarterback this season as Clayton Moore took away Patrick Nicely's job, a transfer from Ole Miss via a JUCO school. He's a dual threat with a good release on the run. He is an upgrade from Nicely but he does not have any experience in Akron's offense.
The Zips running backs are tall and lean, they have good speed but there is not a lot of power, these are backs who need space so the offense will try to get them the ball in the passing game and around the outside. I suspect the UB Linebackers will be able to bottle up the running game should Akron decide to test the middle.
Akron on Defense:
Akron is in the second season of its 4-3 but it's lost their best lineman. What they lack on the line the more than make up for with Brian Wagner.
The 6-2, 220-pound linebacker is built to play any linebacker slot but his ability to read a play and his solid tackling are best utilized in the middle. In three of the Zip's final four games he had more than 10 tackles, duing his career he has done it fifteen times. He is solid against the run, great in pass coverage, and has a nose for getting turnovers. In short when he is on his game Wagner can be a one man wrecking crew.
Let the comeback start: (Should win)
Home game, late in the year, and UB matches up well with Akron. Both teams are breaking in new Quarterbacks but Chazz Anderson has played in a system that is very similar to the one Buffalo is running this season. This is a game Buffalo must win if they want to claim any progress from last season.
The Bulls Can Lose if:
Wagner takes over. This may once again be a low scoring game so if Brian Wager makes some big plays the balance can tip to Akron.
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