Zips take on the Minutemen

Conor Hundley (middle with ball) fights for more yards earlier this season

Kayla Brown

Conor Hundley (middle with ball) fights for more yards earlier this season

The University of Akron’s football team looks to bounce back after last week’s loss as the Zips visit the Massachusetts Minutemen on Saturday at noon at Gillette Stadium.

“We got to pick it back up,” fourth-year head coach Terry Bowden said in his weekly teleconference, referring to the 14-6 defeat to Central Michigan University last week that left the Zips’ record at 3-5 overall and 1-3 in the Mid-American Conference.

“Our offense needs to find a way to manufacture more runs,” Bowden said, talking about the offensive struggles of a week ago. “But we did play against a good defense.” Central Michigan actually has the top defense in the MAC.

But as any coach will tell you: that was last week, and there is a game coming up this week.

For the Zips, it is the Minutemen, who are sitting at 1-7 overall, and 0-4 in the MAC. That does not mean it will be an easy game, though.

The Minutemen are No. 19 in the nation with their passing offense averaging 308 yards a game, but still find a way to add over 115 yards rushing each game.

“Our defense is going to have to go out there and play some great football,” Bowden said.

Massachusetts is led by quarterback Blake Frohnapfel and his 2,293 yards passing, 15 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. Frohnapfel completes just under 60 percent of his passes.

Tajae Sharpe is the leading receiver with 88 catches for 980 yards and four touchdowns. Sharpe leads a pack of four Minutemen receivers with three or more touchdowns.

Akron’s defense leader Jatavis Brown has 7.5 sacks to go along with his ten tackles for loss. Dylan Evans tops the team with 68 total tackles, DeAndre Scott has four interceptions, and Jamal Marcus has added 3.5 sacks.

This weekend’s game is the fourth ever meeting between Akron and Massachusetts in a series that began in 2012. The Zips lead the series 2-1 with two wins in a row.

Last year, both teams braved the cold, but it was the Akron offense that was hot and led the Zips to a 30-6 victory over Massachusetts at InfoCision Stadium –Summa Field.