GAME NOTES: The suddenly dangerous Akron Zips will conclude their non-
conference slate when they host the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns at InfoCision
Akron nearly picked up the biggest win in program history last week as it
fell, 28-24, to the Big Ten's Michigan Wolverines at The Big House. Coach
Terry Bowden's squad drove down to the four-yard line with time winding down
in regulation. Under heavy pressure, Kyle Pohl's pass to Zach D'Orazio as time
expired fell incomplete to end the threat.
The Zips' strong showing came out of nowhere as they were unimpressive in
their 38-7 loss at UCF to open up the campaign and just escaped their matchup
with FCS opponent James Madison with a two-point win. Akron has still not
defeated an FBS opponent under Bowden, who is now 2-13 in his second year at
Louisiana notched its first win of the season and 500th in program history
last week in record-setting fashion as the team defeated Nicholls, 70-7. In
the process, the squad set the Cajun Field record for points, racked up 456
yards rushing and matched the program record with 10 touchdowns. Coach Mark
Hudspeth's team is 1-2 with the losses coming in road tilts at Arkansas
(34-14) and Kansas State (48-27).
This will be the first meeting between these school in history. Louisiana is
5-6 all-time against Mid-American Conference programs. Akron is 7-4-2 versus
current members of the Sun Belt.
Louisiana's offensive standout in its win over the Colonels was freshman
running back Elijah McGuire, who dashed for 137 yards and three touchdowns.
Torrey Pierce rushed for 74 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Alonzo
Harris (75 yards), Montrel Carter (64 yards) and Terrance Broadway (42 yards)
all found the end zone on the ground as well.
Broadway also had his most efficient game of the season as a passer,
completing 10-of-13 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, hooking up with 10
different receivers. The junior signal caller has been held under 200 passing
yards in all three games after surpassing the 300-yard through the air on four
occasions in 2012. Jamal Robinson is leading the team in receiving with 141
yards and two touchdowns on 11 catches.
The Ragin' Cajuns had no problem shutting Nicholls' offense down either. After
setting career-highs in back-to-back games with 14 tackles at Arkansas and 15
at KSU, Justin Anderson led the team with six tackles in just over two
quarters of action last week. He also returned an interception 58 yards for
six points. Louisiana's defense has allowed an average of 488 yards of total
offense and 41 ppg to its FBS foes.
The Cajuns' have their work cut out for them this week as they prepare for
Pohl, who is the reigning MAC East Division Player of the Week after his
career-high 311 yards with two TDs and two INTs on 25-of-49 efficiency. Rookie
offensive coordinator A.J. Milwee did a great job of calling the plays at the
Big House. Milwee is familiar with Mark Hudspeth's coaching style, having
started at QB for him at North Alabama in 2008.
Akron's lead back is junior Jawon Chisholm, who came up 47 yards shy of the
1,000-yard mark in 2012. He rushed a season-high 15 times against the
Wolverines for 58 yards and now has 155 yards on the season.
The Zips are very deep at wide receiver with 12 different players having
caught at least one pass through three games this year. D'Orazio paces the
group with 11 receptions for 120 yards after he finished with six catches for
97 yards and score at Michigan. L.T. Smith also had a huge day with five
receptions for 125 yards.
Akron's defense looked awful against JMU in week two as the Dukes racked up
498 yards of total offense and 26 first downs. The Zips set a new season-low
with 415 yards allowed to Michigan. They also registered four takeaways.
Justin March finished with two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown.
Malachi Freeman registered nine total tackles to bring his team-leading total
Louisiana is a much more established program at this point and has an array of
offensive weapons that Akron will have trouble stopping. After last week, no
one will be shocked if the Zips end their losing skid against FBS competition
in 2013. A victory over one of top teams in the SBC would still be surprising.
Only time will tell whether Akron's showing against the Big Ten powerhouse was
a fluke or a sign of good things to come.