Akron’s got a new captain and he aims to right their ship. The Zips have been awful since 2017. The Zips faithful have seen their team win only three games over the last three years, two of them against Bowling Green.
They’ve lost to FCS teams twice and been generally the worst in the MAC if not all of college football.
But they plucked Joe Moorhead from the sidelines of Oregon, hoping he can bring them back to relevance in the conference.
His first task will be getting the offensive line to act more like a wall and less like a series of garden arbors allowing defenses to pummel their backfield. Last year the Zips finished last in the nation in sacks allowed, and their running game was anemic.
Jonzell Norrils is back to run for Akron and will have competition for the job from Minnesota Transfer Cam Wiley. But if the line does not come along neither is going to bump Akron too much higher than the 1,400 rushing yards the team managed last season.
DJ Irons was mostly a backup last year but played the bulk of the snaps against Buffalo. He’s got the stature to play the position but as a guy who is a dual-threat playmaker, he’s going to be limited by what the line does.
On the other side of the ball, Akron is going to answer the question “If you return most of the unit but the unit was really bad, is that a good thing”.
Not a lot of player turnover on a defense that didn’t generate a lot of actual turnovers. The linebackers are perhaps the unit with the most promise but the front line and defensive secondary did nothing last season.
This is a should-win game for Buffalo this season, Moorheads coached on some big stages and done pretty well but the project in Akron is not a quick turnaroud.