WIN, LOSE OR DRAW: Akron

Part three of a 12-part series outlining Indiana football’s opponents this season.

IU football

Indiana defensive end Greg Middleton sacks former Akron quarterback Carlton Jackson during the teams’ game in 2007. David Snodgress | Herald-Times

OPPONENT: at Akron

DATE: Sept. 19

TIME: 3:30 p.m.

TV: ESPNU

TICKETS: Click here.

FOLLOW THE TEAM: Akron’s official site.

Coverage from the Akron Beacon-Journal, the local newspaper.

HISTORY VS. INDIANA: Indiana is 1-0 alltime, with a 41-24 win at home in 2007.

WHO ARE THEY: The dominant stories heading into Akron’s 2009 season is the opening of its new $61-million dollar stadium and how coach J.D. Brookhart may not be around to see year two of the new facility. The Zips have gone 5-7, 4-8 and 5-7 during the last three seasons, making some forget the 2005 Mid-American Conference championship and trip to the Motor City Bowl. The team’s record at home has been spotty (1-4 in 2008) and performing well in front of the home crowd (namely, the boosters) will go a long ways towards helping Brookhart see year No. 7 on campus.

OFFENSIVE STAR: If you had to pick somebody, it’s probably senior quarterback Chris Jacquemain. During his two years as the starter, he’s moved up to fourth in most career passing marks at Akron. But he’s also had issues with turnovers (14 interceptions as a junior) and is being pushed by redshirt sophomore Matt Rodgers, more of a dual-threat QB, and true freshman Patrick Nicely. Whoever is taking the snaps with have two good wide receivers in Deryn Bowser and Andre Jones to throw to.

DEFENSIVE STAR: Junior Mike Thomas began his career at Massachusetts but transferred to Akron after his redshirt freshman season. Now a junior on the field, Thomas was second on the team in tackles (81, 48 solo) in 2008. Also had two and a half sacks and forced a pair of fumbles. At 5-foot-11, 215-pounds, he is a little undersized for the linebacker position. He began his career as a strong safety, but defensive coaches have switched to smaller linebackers in an effort to defend the spread.

WHY INDIANA WILL WIN: The 2009 Akron football season could very well be one full of promise, but ultimately turn into a train wreck. Little seems to be settled at many positions and with this game being early, Indiana could come out and take advantage. The Zips allowed more than 180 yards rushing per opponent last season — only 19 teams in FBS allowed more. That said, expect this to be a coming-out game for the Indiana running backs and offensive line, as the Hoosiers look to control the clock and take advantage of the difference in size and strength.

WHY AKRON WILL WIN: It’s game No. 2 in the new stadium, and fans will be excited to see a Big Ten team come into town (Akron is charging $5 more per ticket for this game, designating Indiana as a “premier” opponent). The energy into the stadium could carry over onto the field, and a hungry Zips team could take advantage of an Indiana team that is feeling good from the first two weeks of the season. In that respect, there are similarities to last season’s game against Ball State, though the Cardinals are a better team than the Zips.

NOW YOU: Call it — win, lose or draw? Well, ok, just win or lose. State your reason, as well.

36 comments

  1. If IU strength and conditionaing program is improved (and we are told that it has), this should be an IU win. Our vulnerability is depth and if we continue to sustain injuries at the same rate, this could be a tough match. What’s been happening is that our athletes are injured in the first three games, are out for the mid-season with some coming back at season end. Hopefully, we can keep everyone reasonably healthy and pick up a couple of wins!

  2. I think victories in our first three games are very likely. I don’t think that’s really the issue here early on in the season.

    The real storyline to watch is how well we’re actually playing, not simply by how much we win. Remember last year? Our first couple of games were against truly inferior opposition and I think the team’s confidence level was inflated undeservedly. That’s not a good mindset to have early in a season, as we soon found out, painfully.

    My hope is that Lynch and the staff are drilling that concept into the players’ heads. The goal in games like these shouldn’t simply be to win; it should be to execute on both sides of the ball — to treat the Western Kentucky game like it’s the Ohio State game. I wonder how much emphasis is being placed on that thought process this season in comparison to last.

    If it’s a lesson that’s being taught, we should start out 3-0, and we might win a couple games that we probably shouldn’t. If it’s not a point of emphasis, we’ll most likely end up in the same rut once again.

  3. Draw.

    These second tier opponents all worry me the same. It seems in the past that we weren’t prepared to play complete games against these opponents and dominate them. We just have so little to go on at this point that predicting with confidence is difficult.

    I truly hope that our team is preparing to COMPETE on every play and DOMINATE these early teams like BigTen programs should. I really hope Casey is right but as we have under-produced in the past, my confidence in this coaching staff is shaken.

    Go Hoosiers!!

  4. I think Akron could give us a run for our money. I’ve been reading up alot on this and this might be a coin toss of a game. I’m really not too confident on this one.

  5. The Zips are going to come out of the gate and catch Indiana with their pants down. The Zips will win by at least 14pts. Akron’s offense will have a stellar game and the D will be a lot better then last year.

  6. Akron will be fired up for the sold out crowd. Their intensity will show on the field, as one look in a zips player’s eye will send Indiana players home to their mommies.

    Zips will destroy. Mark the date in your diaries ladies

  7. If we had Kellen Lewis: WIN
    Since we don’t have Kellen Lewis: LOSE

    He was the only reason Akron didn’t win the last meeting between these two teams.

  8. Wow. This “toss up” really shows just how little confidence IU’s football fans have in the program right now.

    In the same vein, these are definitely the sorts of games our team MUST win to avoid distancing itself further from the fan base.

    If we start winning the games we’re supposed to, and pull out a few we aren’t, I think that will really begin to place the program on a straighter path to improvement in the next few years.

    That being said, I really doubt the Zips will “destroy” us.

  9. Win. It has the potential of being a tough game, however, if we can’t beat Akron then our chances for a successful season will go down the drain.

  10. Zach,

    Hate to disagree, but I think having Kellen out of the picture is helping IU. There’s an emphasis on driving the ball through the line and playing what I would call “real” football: hard-nosed running with solid passing backing it up.

    The emphasis will also be on multiple players now, as Kellen won’t be the big playmaker who has to get everything done himself.

    I’ll go with win against Akron, because I’m an optimist. I see more urgency in camp this year coming off of last year’s debacle, which means more urgency on the field.

  11. hilarious comments…akron’s season could be a train wreck…good one…this is by far the most talented team in years…calling indiana a big ten team ( which isn’t saying much either ) brings on more hilarity

    Akron 34 Indiana 17

  12. Sorry guys, but there’s no way we win this one. Akron has a ton of talent this year (enough to win their conference championship outright) and their chomping at the bit to knock a major-conference team out of their new stadium.

    I’ll say Akron 31, IU 20 … but that’s being generous to our offense. I really don’t see us beating this team… chance are they won’t lose more than 2 games this season. (Penn State and CMU will probably beat them, but that’s all.)

  13. I’ll take Akron 42-34… IU won’t be in it though. They’ll score 2 touchdowns late in the 4th to make it respectable.

  14. • Casey | August 11th, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
    Apparently I accidentally glanced over Akron when I was checking out the pre-season Top 25…

    You weren’t looking for Indiana, were you?! lol

    Zips 38 IU 24

  15. AZipsFan,

    Touche.

    But making fun of IU football is like making fun of George Bush: It’s too easy and no one laughs anymore.

    I’m just surprised by how much Akron is being portrayed as an amazing football team on this thread.

    I’m making no claims that IU’s team is amazing, either.

  16. “I’m just surprised by how much Akron is being portrayed as an amazing football team on this thread.”

    Why? Because its “only Akron”? I think a bunch of you Indiana fans should come down the night before and watch your team take on the #1 preseason ranked Akron soccer team, stay the night and then on Saturday check out the new $61 Million stadium (you won’t be enjoying the game due to the beatdown your team will be getting).

  17. Wow, IU getting beat down by Akron fans on their own site! Most MAC fan sites don’t have this much traffic total in one day! This is a must win game for the Zips and JD, no question. Unlike the other Zip fans, I don’t predict a beatdown, rather a battle with the Zips holding on for the win.

  18. tps12

    In short, yes — because it’s only Akron.

    Being good in the MAC doesn’t translate to being good anywhere else, and beating IU doesn’t mean you’re good either. So stop acting like your team is going to make a run at a BCS bowl.

    And secondly, your soccer team’s prowess has absolutely nothing to do with your football team.

    But since you want to talk about soccer, here’s a fun excerpt from the Akron Soccer web site. Read up:

    “Porter, just the sixth head coach in the heralded men’s soccer program, came to the Zips from INDIANA where he spent six seasons as an assistant coach for the HOOSIERS, four of which came under Hall of Fame head coach Jerry Yeagley, who is the all-time winningest coach in Division I history and a six-time national coach of the year honoree, and the last two under Mike Freitag.”

    Yeah, so go ahead and tout your soccer team’s success, but don’t forget where it originated.

    Thanks.

  19. @Casey

    Actually, being good in the MAC does translate to being good against IU.

    Ball State killed us and we probably should’ve lost to the Michigan team.

  20. Sorry guys, but Indiana doesn’t stand a chance in this one. Akron has a ton to play for and IU travels like crap.

    I’m not saying it will be any sort of blow-out, but other than maybe scoring first, IU won’t have the lead for the entire game.

    But please IU fans, by all means come out to beatuiful Akron and spend the weekend checking out our gorgeous campus, take in the soccer game and then have a great time in our new stadium.

    We may love to talk smack, but we’re really good fans at heart and tailgating before Zips games (wherever its going to take place this year) is a blast.

  21. Big Fat Benny,

    I think you mis-read, or I wasn’t clear. What I was saying is that being a good MAC team doesn’t mean you’re actually “good” in the sense that you’ll be competing with legitimate football programs outside of the conference.

    What I also said was that beating IU doesn’t qualify you as good, since the Hoosiers have not established themselves as a legitimate competitive program.

    I’m fully aware of the Ball State game last year — hence my disclaimer about IU.

    And for goodness sake, please — to all the Akron fans boasting about your soccer team: you picked the wrong sport attempt to wave in front of IU fans.

    Indiana University has won SEVEN national championships since 1982. That’s one every four years. From what I can tell, Akron has won the MAC a couple of times. No doubt, you have a talented and promising program established there (coached by a former Indiana assistant, mind you), but trying to impress us with your soccer team’s No.1 ranking by an online soccer magazine is just silly. Been there, done that.

  22. People that talk smack are usually scared deep down, fact. I will also say Akron fans must be really bored to seek out this site and post over and over. Says a lot about Akron, OH in general. The inferiority complex of the fans is understandable…

  23. Let’s not single out Akron fans here. They’re not acting any different from the rest of the MAC.

    We saw this same crap from WMU fans in 2007, from Ball State fans in 2006, and from CMU fans in 2005. And we went to their places and beat all them.

    “You aren’t going to beat us in Waldo! You’re the first Big Ten team to come here! The place will be a-rockin! We never lose at home! It will be a sold out crowd!” – WMU Fan

    IU wins.

    “Please. Boston College came to our place and we only lost by 8. You’re no Boston College. We have a game under the lights, at night. It will be sold out. Our program is on the rise, new facilities!” -BSU Fan

    IU wins.

    “This is our time. We’ve got a Big Ten team coming to OUR house. You don’t win at Kelly Shorts. Have you heard of our coach, Brian Kelly?”

    IU wins.

  24. @Bettor. At least you have those three wins to keep your bottom dwelling legitimate team company. WOW!

    @ Casey. I’m sorry IU football is the butt of jokes on it’s campus. It will be easier to endure the loss on the 19th.

    Coach Porter continues a tradition of outstanding soccer at Akron. We are pleased to have him! It certainly didn’t start with him.

    http://zipsnation.org/forums//index.php?showtopic=14427&hl=

    Come join us for a discussion on our matchup in 36 days.

  25. I understand you don’t have much enthusiasm for your football team, but deleting posts is no way to generate a good discussion about our upcoming game.

    Is this a vanilla site where all posts should be how IU can’t lose to MAC schools??

  26. Yeah, yeah, you front-running, living-in-the-past Jerry Yeagley-lovin’ fanadonnas can stay in the 1970s to 2005. That last year is the year we took Caleb Porter away from IU and gave him the chance to coach for a national championship before moving on to an MLS HC job. I haven’t seen any college soccer polls with Indiana ranked in the top-5. At least not in the past several years. You DO have some nice players (can’t Freitag recruit outside of St Louis?) but Caleb’s team is crawling with USA internacionalistas (and I from Malawi) and I predict: Akron 3 Indiana nil.

    Best wishes Hoosiers. Zips fans have the greatest respect for your historical record. Now how will you play us on September 18, 2009?

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