I remember when Ball State was caught smack in the middle of a 20+ game losing streak. I said to my current girlfriend at the time that if the Cardinals could ever find the victory train, the mental breakthrough may rattle off a couple of wins. If memory serves me correctly, once the streak was ended that’s exactly what happened. After a win last Saturday on the road against CMU, and now returning home to face Akron, the same could very well be argued for with little rebuttal from opposing views.
Akron has been in some respects surprising in that they were quite awful for a significant period of time, winning just six games total for the 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 seasons. Last year saw Terry Bowden improve the Zips to 5-7, and some were even pointing to Akron as the darkhorse contrarian pick for the MAC East if you didn’t want to pick BG.
The Zips come in to Saturday with a 4-3 record with their biggest win on the road against 4-3 Pitt. Their three other wins were against FCS Howard, Eastern Michigan, and Miami, all at home. Their losses are Penn State and Ohio on the road and Marshall at home. So in all reality, they have no shameful losses and the majority of folks are picking Akron to win this weekend. Vegas opened the line with the Zips as a 1-point favorite, but that has since shifted to two. Let’s see what the other numbers say…
|Scoring Offense||91st (25.7)
|Rushing Offense||81st (151.7)||107th (125.0)|
|Passing Offense||89th (210.1)||38th(266.0)|
|Total Offense||106th (361.9)||85th (391.0)|
|Scoring Defense||75th (27.4)||12th (18.1)|
|Rushing Defense||103rd (197.0)||33rd (131.4)|
|Passing Defense||51st (218.7)||59th (226.1)|
|Total Defense||76th (415.7)||44th (357.6)|
|Sacks||122nd (5.0)||16th (21.0)|
|Sacks Allowed||28th (10.0)||73rd (15.0)|
|Turnover Margin||16th (+6)||16th (+6)|
|3rd Down Conv. %||75th (39.6%)||112th (33.0%)|
|Opp. 3rd Down Conv. %||92nd (42.4%)||32nd (34.0%)|
|Red Zone Conv. %||60th (84.6%)||126th (64.3%)|
|Opp. Red Zone Conv. %||12th (71.0%)||9th (70.0%)|
|Punting||47th (42.2)||17th (44.5)|
|Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game||28th (45.6)||121st (81.9)|
So Ball State has a 7-9 disadvantage with one draw in the above statistics but given that Akron’s record is 4-3 with a 2-1 MAC mark, I would have expected the difference to be considerably more lopsided. The biggest concern is Akron’s great at passing the ball for chunks of yardage, but once they get in the red zone they struggle to put points on the board. That’s a critical point of emphasis for the defense. They also are stout defensively, more so against the rush than the pass, so it may be a Milas kind of afternoon for the Cards. Kickoff at the Scheu on Saturday is 2pm and we’ll see you there.