BOWLING GREEN — Akron caught the attention of the college football world a few weeks back by giving Michigan more of a game than the Wolverines ever expected.
The Zips already had caught the eye of the Bowling Green State University football team almost a year ago. In that contest Akron led 10-0 at the half before the Falcons used a punishing second-half ground game to win 24-10.
“It’s not like we went into Akron a year ago and blew their socks off,” BG coach Dave Clawson said. “They finished with one win, but they were beating good teams early in games.
“Akron’s going to win — it’s not [a matter of] ‘if,’ but ‘when.’”
Even though the Zips bring a 1-3 record to Doyt Perry Stadium for today’s 2:30 p.m. kickoff, junior defensive tackle Zach Colvin said the Falcons aren’t looking past Akron after last season’s battle.
“They had the ball on our 1-yard line with the opportunity to make the score 17-0 — that game could easily have gone the other way,” Colvin said.
“They are a talented team, and it’s going to be a battle Saturday if we’re going to win.”
Akron coach Terry Bowden said his players are starting to understand that the lessons he and his coaching staff are teaching eventually will pay off in victories.
“You can’t help but have your confidence built up when you play a team rank 11th in the country and twice drive the ball down the field in the fourth quarter,” Bowden said of the near-win at Michigan. “It hurts to lose, but that can’t help but give you confidence that you can play with anybody.”
The Zips feature a pass-happy offense led by sophomore quarterback Kyle Pohl, who threw for 311 yards and a pair of TDs against the Wolverines and added 321 yards and three more scores in a home loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. Pohl’s favorite target is Zach D’Orazio, a sophomore who leads the team with 15 catches for 231 yards and four TDs.
“If you watch them on film, they have had skill [players],” Clawson said of the Zips. “They were close late in a lot of games last year, but I think they would wear down up front. They are improved up front. I think their biggest improvement is in their defensive front.”
Akron brings a 28-game road losing streak to BG on Saturday, but Clawson was quick to note that only two of those losses are the responsibility of this year’s Zips.
“We’re getting our team ready for the team we saw on film,” he said. “The team we saw on film had the ball inside the 5 with a second left — and a chance to beat an undefeated Michigan team. Those 28 road losses have a lot to do with the teams they had two and three years ago. That has nothing to do with this team.”