“The University of Akron football team will begin a crucial three game road trip without a familiar face behind center. The Zips will take on the University of Buffalo Bulls Oct. 17 without sophomore quarterback Matt Rodgers, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.””
The University of Akron football team will begin a crucial three game road trip without a familiar face behind center.
The Zips will take on the University of Buffalo Bulls Oct. 17 without sophomore quarterback Matt Rodgers, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
The Zips will turn to their third starting quarterback this season in freshman Patrick Nicely.
The Zips begin the road trip tied for last place in the MAC East division with a 1-4 record overall and a 0-2 record in the MAC.
This is not the first time we have been at 1-4 overall, Zips head coach J.D. Brookhart said. The last time it happened we won the most MAC games in Akron history. There is still a lot of football to be played.
The Zips will look for their first win since week two against the Bulls who enter play tied with UA for last place in the MAC east with an 0-2 record in the MAC and a 2-4 record overall.
The Bulls are led by a powerful offense behind sophomore quarterback Zach Maynard.
Maynard has completed 116 of 181 passes for 1466 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Maynard has throw touchdowns to four different wide receivers, three of which have over 100 yards receiving.
Maynard’s main target has been senior wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt who has a team leading 605 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Roosevelt has also thrown for a touchdown.
Brett Hamlin and Jesse Rack are the other two receiving targets that have over 100 yards receiving.
Hamlin, a senior, has 444 yards receiving and one touchdown.
Rack, also a senior, has 194 yards receiving and a team-high five touchdowns.
The Bulls also have a duel running back system in Ike Nduka and Brian Thermilus.
Nduka, a junior, has ran for 389 yards and two touchdowns, while Thermilus, a junior, has ran for 308 yards and two touchdowns.
Buffalo has two very good receivers, a different dynamic at quarterback and two good running backs that want to pound the ball, Brookhart said. They try to keep the ball for eight or nine minutes per drive.
They have been able to make big play in the passing game. As a team I believe they have two of the best safeties in the Mid-American Conference and a much improved defensive line over last season.
The Zips will counter the improved Bull defense with Nicely, who will make his first career start.
Nicely, who was red shirted earlier this season, made his Akron debut Oct. 10 against the Ohio University Bobcats completing nine of 23 passes for 98 yards.
For a young freshman that has had limited reps in practice, he did a really good job, Brookhart said. It is fairly obvious that he has a great deal of confidence in himself.
He made some great reads on plays that sophomores and juniors commonly miss, but he did make some mistakes. It is our job as coaches to improve his abilities so that he can succeed. We obviously can’t ask him to play beyond his years and he can’t try to either.
The Zips will look to start the three game road trip on the right foot with a win over the Bulls.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.