The Buffalo Bulls are looking to get their season back on track after starting the conference season 0-2. Luckily, a match-up with arguably the worst FBS team is just what the doctor ordered, and it’s what the Bulls will get in a match-up with the 0-6 Akron Zips. For perspective here are Akron’s rankings in various power ratings.
ESPN FPI: 129/130
College Football Reference SRS: 129/130
Massey Ratings: 129/130
CBS Sports 130: 130/130
Sagarin Ratings: 129/130, 194/256 (including FCS)
You might look at that and say:
“Not bad, they’re the second worst in most of those.”
Well, 130 in those lists was UMass and Akron already lost to UMass 37-29. In the house of Bull Run we respect the transitive property.
Another number that the Zips are 129/130 in is points per game nationally. Averaging just 14.3 points per game, the Akron offense has struggled to get anything going offensively in 2019. QB Kato Nelson shoulders most of the load for the Akron offense having thrown for 1265 yards on the season. His leading target has been WR Nate Stewart who has caught 26 passes for 391 yards and 3 TDs this season. Nelson also leads the team in rushing despite sacks counting against a QB’s rushing total in college. Speaking of sacks, the Akron offensive line has allowed 26 through six games, tying them for 128th in the nation at 4.5 sacks per game. The offensive line has fared no better in the run game, with the Zips averaging just 2 yards per carry, last in the country by 0.3 yards.
The Akron defense has been marginally better than the offense this season, ranking 119th in the nation in points allowed per game at 36 PPG. They do return first team all-MAC DB Alvin Davis, and third team all-MAC LB John Lako, who anchor the Zips on this side of the ball. Lako leads the team in tackles with 68, closely followed by LB Bubba Arslanian. Arslanian also has one of Akron’s four sacks on the season, with nobody on the team contributing more than one. CB Jordyn Riley leads the pass defense, Riley is tied for the team lead in passes defended (4), and interceptions (1). The Zips defense struggles to turn teams over, averaging just 0.7 turnovers forced per game, less than half of the 2 turnovers per game that their offense commits.
This game is a must win for the Bulls. Buffalo needs to prove that they are the more talented team on the field in this one, if they can’t do that the season will be over for all intents and purposes. With just six games remaining in the season, needing 4 wins for bowl eligibility, and the division still in play, UB can’t afford to lose this one.