UA Football begins new era this weekend against Morgan State

“The University of Akron football team will play their inaugural game at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field Sept. 12 against the Morgan State University Bears. The Zips come into the first game at the new 30,000-seat landmark with a sour taste in their mouths.”

The University of Akron football team will play their inaugural game at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field Sept. 12 against the Morgan State University Bears.

The Zips come into the first game at the new 30,000-seat landmark with a sour taste in their mouths.

UA was exploited on both sides of the ball by the now seventh-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions in a 31-7 loss at Beaver Stadium.

I looked at the Penn State tape and was very disappointed with some aspects of our team for not playing to their abilities, Zips Head Coach J.D. Brookhart said. The loss was a combination of a very difficult environment, a very good football team and our lack of ability to operate the snap count.

We just need to regroup and get back to work to prepare for Morgan State.

Saturday’s inaugural game will be the first game of the season for the Bears. Last year, MSU played .500 football going 6-6 on the season.

The Bears have 17 former Division-1 players on their roster including former Zips quarterback Carlton Jackson, who transferred after his sophomore season in 2008.

There are 17 Football Bowl Subdivision transfers on their roster this year, Brookhart said. They are some good football players that have gotten second chances and are taking advantage.

Last year, Jackson, a senior, threw for 742 yards with five touchdown passes, six interceptions and one rushing touchdown.

He’s a great player, Zips senior wide receiver and safety Andre Jones said. We got to play with him for two years, we know what he’s capable of doing, and we’re going to prepare for him like we prepare for everyone else.

If the Zips are to be effective against Jackson and the Bears, they will need a bounce back performance by senior quarterback and former teammate Chris Jacquemain.

Jacquemain, who took over the reins at starting quarterback from Jackson in 2007, completed 13 of 22 passes for just 158 yards with one touchdown and one interception in Happy Valley Sept. 5.

I expected more out of myself last week with the offense, especially in the first half, Jacquemain said. I was definitely disappointed.

Jacquemain should receive a major lift by an offensive line that will rotate players and keep a fresh unit on the field.

We will play Adam Bice and Mitch Straight, Brookhart said. We have had trouble through the years with the offensive lineman getting banged up.

If those guys can come in and get 15 to 20 plays a game, it will help us throughout the season.

Matt Rodgers should also see snaps behind center for the Zips offense.

Rodgers, a sophomore, relieved Jacquemain early in the second quarter in Happy Valley last Saturday.

Matt contiues to show why he has earned the playing time he got on Saturday, Brookhart said. He is fine in the passing game, but adds a new dimension in the running game. He continues to improve each week.

With the Bears having two new coordinators running the ship, the Zips will have to prepare for all aspects.

It is an uneasy feeling not knowing exactly what schemes to prepare for, Brookhart said. Our defense and offense have seen just about every formation throughout fall camp and it will be interesting to see what Morgan State runs and how we adjust to their style of play.

One advantage UA will likely have is a sellout crowd for their first game ever at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field.

According to the University of Akron Department of Athletics, there were less than 3,000 tickets remaining as of Tuesday.

It will be great to have a sellout on opening day, Brookhart said. We will have a great home field advantage with the emotion and noise of students and fans being excited about the football team and stadium.

Brookhart said it is always better to have a packed house than an empty one.

It’s usually harder when there is nobody in the stands and you hear the one guy yelling, Brookhart said with a laugh. Those are unmistakable.

The Zips open their new stadium Sept. 12 against the Bears. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.