Football looks to become bowl eligible

By Jake Allen, Sports Editor

The University of Akron football team looks to break a two-game losing streak and finally become bowl-eligible on Wednesday when it hosts the Bowling Green Falcons.

The Zips enter the game with a 5-5 record overall and a 3-3 conference record. The Falcons are struggling mightily this season, as they have a 1-8 record (0-5 MAC). Bowling Green has lost seven straight games, including a 45-20 loss to Northern Illinois in its last matchup.

The Zips are looking to win their sixth game of the season, which would make them eligible to play in their second straight bowl game. Akron will have to beat Bowling Green or Ohio University next week to get there.

Also, the Zips look to continue their fight for the MAC Championship. After losing back-to-back games it will be a tough mountain to climb, as they will need to win their last two games and have Ohio lose to Central Michigan on Nov. 15.

The youthful Falcons start true freshman James Morgan (Green Bay, Wisconsin) at the quarterback position. Morgan enters the game with 1,654 yards passing with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He has completed 57.4 percent of his passes and has not attempted a rush all season.

A pair of experienced players lead the running game for the Falcons. Senior Fred Coppet has rushed for 649 yards at a clip of 4.4 yards per carry with three touchdowns. Also, junior Josh Cleveland has carried his own as well, rushing for 407 yards with one touchdown. Cleveland is rushing at an excellent 5.4 yards per carry.

The Falcons sport one of the best wide receivers in the conference with sophomore Scott Miller. Miller has caught 64 passes for 849 yards with ten touchdowns. Miller is tied for 11th in the nation in catches, 20th in receiving yards, and seventh in receiving touchdowns.

Senior Ronnie Moore (34 catches, 412 yards, one touchdown) and junior Teo Redding (25 receptions, 334 yards, three touchdowns) have also contributed a lot to the receiving game.

The Zips have struggled in recent weeks, but their offensive numbers are still excellent. Quarterback Thomas Woodson has completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,079 yards with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. Woodson hasn’t been his normal self since returning from injury, so his play will be very important for the Zips on Wednesday.

The Zips’ receivers can compare with the Falcons’ Miller as one some of the top receivers in the conference. Junior Jerome Lane has stepped up his play since Woodson’s return. On the season Lane has 53 catches for 866 yards and five touchdowns. His 866 receiving yards rank 19th in the nation and fourth in the conference, just ahead of Miller.

Senior Jojo Natson also has 53 catches this season, with 736 receiving yards and ten touchdowns. He ranks seventh in the conference in receiving yards and is tied for first in touchdowns, tied with Miller and Toledo’s Michael Roberts.

Speedster Austin Wolf has slowed down during the past two weeks after gaining at least fifty receiving yards in five out of six games, as he had three catches in each of the past two games with a combined 55 yards. On the season Wolf has 33 catches for 505 yards and five touchdowns as Woodson’s tertiary passing option.

The Zips’ senior class will be honored before the game Wednesday, as it will be their last game in front of the home faithful. Notable seniors are Natson, cornerbacks Larry Hope and DeAndre Scott, safeties James Turner and Cory Morrow, defensive ends Jamal Marcus, Se’Von Pittman, and Daumantas Venckus, and running backs Denzel Jones and Warren Ball.

The Zips look to get revenge on a Bowling Green team that beat them 59-10 last season as they fight for a Bowl Game and a MAC Championship, so there will be a lot on the line on Wednesday night between the two MAC rivals. It all kicks off at 8 p.m. at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field in Akron.