Non-conference football opponents announced

By: Chris Coon

On Wednesday the Zips announced the non-conference football schedule for the next five years, with games that will be against Bowl Championship Series programs, such as Michigan, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Penn State.

Starting in 2012 UA will open its season at home on Aug. 30 against the University of Central Florida of Conference USA. The Knights who were in the Mid-American Conference from 2002-03 were 1-1 against the Zips in that span, but Akron however owns a 4-2 advantage in the all-time series.

The following week on Sept. 8, Akron will be at Sun Belt Conference opponent Florida International University, who the Zips will be hosting at home this year on Oct. 8 at 2 p.m.

The next week will include Middle Eastern Athletics Conference opponent Morgan State on Sept. 15. The Bears, will be making their return back to Akron for the first time since their 41-0 defeat in 2009 in the Zips inaugural home game.

The Zips will then hit the road on Sept. 22 against South Eastern Conference opponent Tennessee.

“It’s great for our program to have an opportunity to play in some of the more historic venues in college football,” second-year Akron head coach Rob Ianello said.

Akron will begin their 2013 season on Aug. 30 at UCF, and then return home on Sept 7. When they welcome in James Madison, from the Colonial Athletic Association. JMU was the 2004 national champion.

In week three (Sept. 14) the Zips will travel to Michigan of the Big Ten Conference, before returning home to take on Louisiana-Lafayette of the Sun Belt Conference on Sept. 21.

“I know our players will be excited to compete in these games,” said Ianello Also, many of these games are within driving distance, which makes it easy for our fans and the families of our players to travel and support us. By design our non-league schedule will help prepare us for MAC play each season.”

In 2014 UA will open up their season at Big Ten Conference opponent Penn State on Sept. 6, who they have not faced since 2009, before heading home on Sept. 20, to take on current Conference USA and former MAC member Marshall. This will mark the 12th time the Zips will face the Thundering Herd.

Akron will then hit the road again to face Big East foe Pittsburgh on Sept. 27, who they have not faced since 1998.

A trip to Louisiana-Lafayette on Sept. 5 will jump start Akron’s 2015 season before they return back home on Sept. 12 to take on Pittsburgh. UA will then head off to Notre Dame for their second appearance since 1910. Ianello who was a member of the Notre Dame coaching staff served from 2005-09.

The Zips will complete their home-and-home against Marshall in 2016 on Sept. 17 in Huntington, W.Va. Also additional non-conference games will be announced for the 2014, ’15 and ’16 season at a later date.