Zips try to get back on track

“The University of Akron football team will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., Saturday to play the Eastern Michigan Eagles for the first time since 2003. Despite the fact that the two Mid-American Conference schools have not met on the football field in recent years, they do have an extensive history on the gridiron.”

The University of Akron football team will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., Saturday to play the Eastern Michigan Eagles for the first time since 2003.

Despite the fact that the two Mid-American Conference schools have not met on the football field in recent years, they do have an extensive history on the gridiron. UA owns a 15-11 advantage in the 26-game series that dates back to 1949.

UA won the latest game in the series, 24-17, at the Rubber Bowl, but lost the last time it traveled to Rynearson Stadium, 42-34, in 2002.

Both teams enter this year’s contest coming off of disappointing losses. The Zips (3-4, 1-2 MAC) fell to Bowling Green, 37-33, while the Eagles (2-5, 1-2 MAC) lost to Army, 17-13.

EMU is led offensively by junior quarterback Andy Schmitt and senior wide receiver Tyler Jones.

Schmitt has completed 82-of-143 passes for 805 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s also the team’s fourth-leading rusher with 126 yards gained on the ground.

Jones’ 180 receiving yards and two touchdown catches rank second on the team, but he’s also been an effective rusher season. In EMU’s upset win at Bowling Green on Oct. 4, the senior caught the game-winning touchdown and led the team with 60 yards rushing on 13 shotgun direct snaps. For his performance, he was named the MAC West’s Offensive Player of the Week.

Fifth-year UA head coach J.D. Brookhart said EMU uses Jones in a similar way to how BGSU used Anthony Turner last week.

They are very similar to Bowling Green in the way they have a quarterback package for their large wide receiver, Brookhart said during his weekly news conference Monday. I really like their quarterback, they have several backs that carry the ball and have a big wide receiver. They are the third-ranked offense in the MAC and move the ball very well.

Fifth-year EMU head coach Jeff Genyk said UA’s wide receivers are fast and have great play-making ability.

I think they really have some threats at wide receiver, Genyk said during his weekly news conference. I think that’s really the strength of their team.

The Zips have four receivers – Deryn Bowser, Andre Jones, Jeremy Bruce and Dashan Miller – who have gained more than 100 yards receiving this season.

Bowser leads the group with 510 yards and three touchdowns on 40 receptions.

Kickoff at Rynearson Stadium is set for 1 p.m.