Wolverine Wednesday: Akron Zips Preview

By: PFC Draft/Michigan writer Matt Moore (@Matt23Moore)

 

#11 Michigan Wolverines 2-0(0-0 Big Ten) v.s. Akron Zips 1-1 (0-0 MAC)

 

Akron Last Week:

Despite giving up 503 yards of total yards to Division 1-AA opponent, James Madison, the Zips pulled off a 35-32 home victory. Akron used a two quarterback system, highlighting the talents of sophomore Kyle Pohl and junior Nick Hirschman. In an odd turn of events, Hirschman injured his left knee while celebrating a two yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Zach D’Orazio. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, Hirschman is listed as probable for Saturday against Michigan.

Michigan Last Week:

Under the Lights II ended with Michigan defeating Notre Dame in a 41-30 shootout. The game set a single game attendance record of 115,109 spectators. Michigan jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and seemed to have an answer for every Notre Dame score from then on. Senior wide receiver Jeremey Gallon earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for his 184 receiving yards and three touchdown receptions. Michigan fans were delighted to see the return of the Devin Gardner that they had come to love last season. Gardner wiped away all doubt of him not being ready to be the quarterback at Michigan with 294 yards through the air, 82 yards on the ground, and 5 total touchdowns.

 

Michigan Team Leaders:

Passing- Devin Gardner 31/48, 456 yards, 5 touchdowns

Rushing- Devin Gardner 20 carries, 134 yards, 6.7 average, 3 touchdowns

Receiving- Jeremy Gallon 12 receptions, 231 yards, 19.3 average, 4 touchdowns

 

Akron Team Leaders:

Passing- Kyle Pohl 30/43, 241 yards, 2 touchdowns

Rushing- Jawon Chisholm 22 carries, 97 yards, 4.4 yards, 0 touchdowns

Receiving- Andrew Pratt 3 receptions, 118 yards, 39.3 average, 1 touchdown

 

Michigan National Rankings:

Passing Yards-48th

Rushing Yards-47th

Points For-10th

Points Against-44th

 

Akron National Rankings:

Passing Yards-83rd

Rushing Yards-101st

Points For- 90th

Points Against-101st

 

The Matchup:

Last week’s win over Notre Dame gave Michigan a boost in the rankings, moving from 17 to 11, and in confidence. This preseason, the Akron Zips were ranked 120 out of 125 college football teams. The Zips lost to the University of Central Florida convincingly in week one, followed by three point victory against a Division I-AA school. If the Zips were not shaking in the boots about facing Goliath before this week, then they should be now.

Typically, there are one or two standout players on bad teams that can give Goliaths, such as Michigan, a good look. Although for this game, it is relatively hard to point out who the key players are for the Zips. They featured a two quarterback system last game, but neither of the two is particularly outstanding, their running back has not eclipsed 100 yards in two games, and they have 12 players with receptions (none of which have more than six total receptions). This is clearly an offense that is still trying to figure itself out, which does not bode well for them against Michigan.

Last week, Michigan’s defense forced two turnovers (two Blake Countess interceptions). However, the Wolverines gave up 314 yards through the air. Michigan needs to put an emphasis on improving their pass defense. Considering the lack of ability in the running game and the Wolverines’ strong rush defense, the Zips will most likely come out throwing. Countess and the rest of the defensive back field need to be ready to answer this week and in the future.

Offensively, Michigan has to improve on the ground. It would still be more assuring if running back Fitzergald Toussaint could be more productive. He currently has 3.3 yards per carry and is actually second to Devin Gardner on the team in rushing, despite having 16 more carries. That being said, the Wolverines were going against one of the best defensive lines in the country in Notre Dame last week and Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco was dialing up all sorts of blitzes. Thankfully, Michigan Offensive Coordinator Al Borges had an answer for all of Diaco’s stunts and blitzes. Nevertheless, the offensive line and Toussaint need to pick up the running game.

Overall, look for the young bucks to get some trash time. I have stated my excitement about freshman quarterback Shane Morris before and I will do so once again. The guy has potential to be a future Michigan great. Freshman tight end Jake Butt made an impact on last week’s Notre Dame and could be featured in a few plays against the Zips. Finally, freshman Dymonte Thomas started his Wolverine career off right by blocking a punt against Central Michigan in week one. The ultra-athletic safety should get some serious time next year, so get a good look at him now.

 

 

 

photo via www.woodtv.ccom