该Zips, throughout the young season, have shown a great increase in growth from a genuinely terrible 2019 season. The improvement isn’t necessarily night-and-day; they’re still 0-3 and have lsot every game by double-digits, after all. But unlike the 2019 season, the Zips look like an actualy competitive football team on a consistent basis.
In all three games, the Zips have made teams sweat, whether taking an early lead against WMU in Week 1, or taking Ohio down to the wire in Week 2. In Week 3’s game against Kent State, they were seconds away from taking a tied game in to the locker rooms for halftime.
该story of Teon Dollard has been a wild one to follow.
A JUCO running back from Independence [KS] CC (the second of three football teams featured on Netflix’s “Last Chance U”), Dollard wasn’t even on the Zips’ initial radar, as they went to Kansas to recruit other players on the roster. Eventually, they noticed Dollard’s work ethic and game tape, and offered him a scholarship. With Akron being the only FBS team to offer thethree-star prospect他接受了，是一个早期的入学家。
为了透视，他已经超过了Akron的领先Resher，因为2019年全部，Brandon Lee(179 yards) in two games of action. Dollard’s four touchdowns also surpassed Akron’s整个rushing touchdown production— equaling the effort at halftime!
Very clearly, this team is much better with Dollard on the field, and that has, in part, propelled them to being a lot more competitive on the field.
阿克伦开始只有一个学长the line in senior Bryce Peterson, who moved over from guard to play cnter this past offseason. Starting along both sides of him? Four redshirt freshman, averaging 296.75 lbs and six-foot-five, incouding the behemoth left tackleXavior Gray.（六英尺九，315磅）这个单位令人难以置信的年轻 - 而且非常充满潜力，因为他们在本赛季中展示了。
In three games, the offensive line has pushed the pile for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns, pushing to pass the pace of 2019’s line (2,918 yards gained, 15 touchdowns.) The average offensive yards per game has also increased significantly with these changes, jumping from 243 yards per game in 2019 to 352.3 currently, showing that a full season could yield great results for the Zips.
If there’s one concern to have thus far, the line has given up five sacks in three games, already half the number of sacks given up in the whole of the 2019 season. Part of that is probably the relative youth on the line this season as opposed to last, but part of it could also come down to quarterback play (more on that later) leaving the line vulnerable.
Regardless, there’s a lot to be hopeful for along the trenches, as only the center position will graduate out of the program this season.
A game vs. Miami’s usually reliable defensive line, which will be rested after a week off due to COVID protocols, should prove to be a fascinating test.
Zach Gibsonis a hard worker, and it’s clear that he wants to help Akron win games. The issue is, he’s just a bit to eager to do that, tossing four interceptions in three games, as well as being fumble-prone, having already lost two fumbles in key situations so far this season.
但对于阿克伦真正走遍了顶部，Sylvester Stallone风格，they need a strong arm in the passing game to take advantage of the various athletes they have on the outside. Hell, even a marginal arm would do at this point.
Kato Nelson, the starter over the twilight of Terry Bowden’s tenure, and last year’s starter prior to injury, was suited up for Week 3, which could mean a return to the catbird seat soon. Nelson has the seniority and familiarity with the playbook which could open up parts of the offense Gibson doesn’t have access to. Nelson went 151-for-280 for 1,820 yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 starts last season, so it’s certainly an option to consider, given Gibson hasn’t exactly improved from last season’s pace.
还有其他潜在的选择，包括TJ Desvields和Myjaden Horton.，阿克伦也可以看看。无论如何，在QB的可靠存在是在此时缺少拉链的元素，这可能需要很长的帮助。
Bubba Arslenian is an absolute unit
Arslenian layed down the hammer on Kent State on several occasions, picking up a team-leading 15 tackles, on top of recovering Issac Vance’s muffed punt to add to what’s already been a massively impressive season for the Zips backer, who has 34 total tackles, two tackles-for-loss, two sacks and a recovered fumble (all tops on the defensive side.) The 34 tackles are nearly double of the next leading Zip (Adetutu Daranijo，18，）并将他作为唯一的Akron Defender每场比赛平均两位数停止。
Much like his fellow batterymate约翰·洛科was the heart of the Zips defense in 2019 prior to his graduation this offseason, Arslenian has taken hold of that mantle, helping the center of the defense hold up of recent; his special teams play also cannot go by unnoticed, as it was precisely his pressure which forced the muffed punt. Not making an all-MAC team with his performance thus far would be a great disappointment.
Growing pains on offense translate to the defense, too
It’s hard to pile onto Akron’s defense too much, given how barebones the roster was to begin with as we entered the season. But the numbers do eventually speak for themselves, and they’re not pretty.
进攻变得更善于控球比ks to the emergence of Teon Dollard, which is a positive development, but they’re still turnover-prone, and against the best teams, struggle to hold on to the ball much at all, putting the defense behind the eight ball.
Perhaps the pressure originating from defensive backs and linebackers is by design in the Arth defense, but it would be fairly helpful if the defensive trenches could contribute in a more visible fashion. It places an unfair assignment to the rest of the defense when the linemen aren’t getting home more often, as the chances of a broken assignment or a hesitation in coverage is more likely the longer the offense operates. Until that gets fixed, Akron will be facing issues preventing the opponent from moving down the field for awhile.
Akrons’ next game will be against the Miami RedHawks on Sat., Nov. 28 at noon Eastern time, with TV coverage exclusively on ESPN3.