Miami-Ohio (2-2) at Akron (1-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 29, 2:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: InfoCision Stadium (30,000) -- Akron, Ohio. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Miami 2-0, Akron 1-1. Away Record: Miami 0-2, Akron 0-2. Neutral Record: Miami 0-0, Akron 0-0. Conference Record: Miami 1-0, Akron 0-0. Series Record: Miami-Ohio leads, 15-5-1.
GAME NOTES: The Miami-Ohio RedHawks seek their first win away from home this season when they head to InfoCision Stadium to combat the Akron Zips in a Mid- American Conference matchup.
Miami is 2-2 after defeating Massachusetts, 27-16, at home in its MAC opener last week. Coach Don Treadwell had his team ready for the Minutemen as they recorded eight of their 18 longest plays of 2012 in the contest. That momentum will be needed this week as the RedHawks attempt to snap their five-game road losing streak which dates back to last season. A win would put the program over the .500 mark for the first time since the end of the 2010 season.
Akron is showing improvement under its new coach Terry Bowden just four games into the season. The team snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 66-6 victory over Morgan State two weeks ago and went the distance in a 41-38 loss to FIU on Sept. 8. A road loss to Tennessee last week caused the Zips to fall to 1-3 overall this season. Akron's has lost 14 straight games versus FBS opponents. Its last win over an FBS opponent was Nov. 26, 2010 over Buffalo. This week's bout will be the first MAC competition for the team this season.
Saturday will be the 22nd all-time meeting between the programs. Miami holds a 15-5-1 advantage after it won the last three encounters. The RedHawks easily downed the Zips, 35-3, in last season's meeting in Oxford.
The RedHawks have unimpressive overall numbers offensively due to their poor performances against Ohio State and Boise State. However, Miami has a certified leader in QB Zac Dysert. The senior was named the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week after he produced four total touchdowns and 268 total yards last time out. He also passed Ben Roethlisberger to become the school's all-time leader in completions in the contest.
Dawan Scott and Andy Cruse provide a perfect balance for Dysert in the passing attack. Scott is a big-play threat with a team-best 233 yards on 16 receptions. Cruse is a possession wideout with 29 grabs for 163 yards. Both receivers have reeled in two scoring passes.
Jamire Westbrook and Spencer Treadwell share the team's rushing duties evenly. The duo has combined to rush for 283 yards through four games.
Even against the weak offense of UMass last week, Miami's defense was unable to make consistent stops. The Minutemen had their best offensive performance of the season with 471 yards of total offense and 16 points. Ohio State and Boise State combined for over 1,100 yards of total offense against Miami in the RedHawks' two losses this season.
Chris Wade is doing his best to turn Miami's defense around. The linebacker has led the team in tackles in each of the last three games and is tied for seventh in the MAC with 38 total stops on the season.
Despite its losing record, Akron is an exciting team to watch with the ninth best passing attack in the FBS (340.8 yards per game) due to a no-huddle approach. Dalton Williams is averaging just over 50 attempts per game and has a 10-to-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Williams's favorite weapon is Marquelo Suel, who has tallied 352 receiving yards and three touchdowns through four games. Zach D'Orazio, Keith Sconiers, L.T. Smith, and Dee Freison have all reeled in double-digit receptions already as well.
While Akron clearly emphasizes passing in its offense, Jawon Chisholm is a capable tailback. The sophomore has picked up 242 yards on the ground this season after finishing just 39 yards shy of 1,000 last year as a rookie.
With the exception of its 66-6 win over Morgan State of the FCS, Akron has been terrible defensively. UCF, FIU, and Tennessee scored a total of 144 points in three games against the Zips. Defensive coordinator Chuck Amato's squad is on the field more than the average defense because of the offense's no-huddle style.
Keith Mangum is the leading tackler with 26, 15 of which were solo stops.
The Zips can put pressure on Miami early if they can manage to put some points on the board early on in the competition. However, Dysert is unlikely to fold under the pressure against this rebuilding Akron squad. The RedHawks have too many offensive weapons to be slowed down by the Zips' struggling defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Ohio 35, Akron 28
09/26 10:46:13 ET