Akron Football Breakdown: Who are the Zips?

We all know that James Franklin will make his Beaver Stadium debut on Saturday, but you probably don’t know too much about the team Penn State will play, the Akron Zips. Here’s a breakdown of the team in advance of the big game.

Record: 1-0, defeated Howard University 41-0 last weekend.

Coach: Terry Bowden (7-18 at Akron)

Last time the programs met: In 2008, Penn State jumped to a 31-0 halftime lead and coasted to a 31-7 victory. Daryll Clark threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns, and the Nittany Lion defense held Akron to just 186 yards.

What does our staff think? The Onward State writers have made their predictions, and it’s unanimous: We think Penn State will #dominate the Zips.

What to watch for: 

Akron’s coach knows his stuff

Terry Bowden, the Zips’ head coach, has been through it all. He began coaching in 1982, and impressed enough to earn a head coaching job at Salem College just a year later. He continued to climb the coaching ladder all the way up to the head coaching job at Auburn. The Tigers only lost one game in his first two years, and he ended up staying there for six seasons.

Terry may not be the most well-known Bowden  that title goes to his father Bobby, of course  but he’s been coaching long enough that he knows what’s coming on Saturday. He’s been in big games, and he’ll have his team ready to play.

The team has been in big games before

Akron has played in big stadiums against powerhouse teams before. Just last year, the Zips came just one play short of upsetting Michigan in a 28-24 loss. Pohl threw an incompletion as time expired to give the Wolverines the victory, but the Maize and Blue did not look like the better team that day. Yes, this is a different year and a different team, but playing well in the Big House should serve as a reminder that, when it executes, this team can play.

Quarterback Kyle Pohl is quite good 

In Akron’s season opener against Howard University last week, Pohl threw for 308 yards and four touchdowns. Granted, it’s Howard University, but Pohl picked up right where he left off last season. Akron has won its last four games dating back to 2013, and much of that success can be credited to Pohl’s improved play.

In his last four games dating back to last season, Pohl is 69/117 for 873 yards and 8 touchdowns and zero interceptions. This is a marked improvement from the first nine games of 2013, which saw Pohl throw 6 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He’s developing an understanding of Bowden’s offense, and a good day for him could spell trouble for the Nittany Lion defense.

They consider themselves to be “Linebacker U”

I was digging through Akron’s media guide last night to find a particular stat, and I came across this interesting headline.

image (3)

I will give credit where it’s due: linebacker C.J. Mizell had a solid game. Ten tackles and eight solo tackles is nothing to scoff at. It’s just an interesting headline for a mid-major team to use when it is about to play the ACTUAL “Linebacker U”.

Akron’s mascot is a kangaroo

Apparently a “Zip” is a Kangaroo. Figure that one out.

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About the Author

Alex Robinson

Alex Robinson was Onward State's Acting Managing Editor/Resident Old Man. He lived in Harrisburg almost his whole life, but he says he's from California -- where he was born -- because that's more fun. He loves cats and Chinese food, but only separately. He met both Ben Affleck and Kanye West within a half hour, so the three of them are basically best friends. If you want to hear his #scorching #hot #takes, you can follow him at @ARobinsonPSU or email him at [email protected].

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