It’s a battle of Mid-American Conference teams from the East Division between a pair of schools from the Buckeye State. The Akron Zips are on the road as they take the short in-state trip to face the Kent State Golden Flashes Saturday afternoon. Akron dropped their third straight game as they were shut down in a 24-6 road loss at Buffalo last Saturday. Kent State dropped their fifth in a row as they were trampled 31-6 on the road by Miami (OH) last Saturday. The Zips lead the all-time series 19-11 and have taken the last three meetings, including a 24-14 home win in the last matchup on November 21, 2017.
Akron Zips Try to Get Back to .500
Akron started the year well with back to back wins, including a road upset of Northwestern, but has come back to earth with three straight defeats. The Zips were held in check by Buffalo on the road last week, limited to just two field goals offensively. Akron was outgained badly in the game by a 435-235 margin as Kato Nelson struggled to throw the ball. He finished just 12 of 29 for 115 yards and an interception in the contest. The Zips lost the first down battle 20-16 and saw Buffalo control the clock by a 34:28 to 25:32 margin. Akron was just three of 14 on third down while Buffalo converted eight of 17 third-down chances.
— Akron Zips Football (@ZipsFB) October 13, 2018
The Zips enter this contest 103rd in the FBS in passing offense with an average of 197 yards per game through the air and 118th in rushing offense with 111.4 yards per contest. Akron is 111th in the FBS in scoring offense with 23.2 points per game and 73rd in scoring defense as they allow 26.4 points per contest. Kato Nelson has completed 76 of 146 passes for 980 yards with seven touchdowns and six interceptions while ranking second on the team with 202 rushing yards. Alex Ramart is two of five for five yards and an interception. Van Edwards Jr. is the lead back in the system for the Zips with 56 carries for 244 yards plus two scores. Deltron Sands is next in line but he has only 17 carries for 61 yards. Andre Williams leads the team with 19 receptions for 289 yards plus three touchdowns. Kwadarrius Smith (12 grabs, 193 yards, TD) and Nate Stewart (14 catches, 146 yards, TD) are reliable secondary targets. Nick Gasser has hit all 10 extra point attempts and nine of 11 field goals this season with a long of 49. Jerry Fitschen hit his lone extra point attempt and has not attempted a field goal this season.
Kent State Golden Flashes Seek First Conference Win of Year
Kent State was bombed by Miami (OH) in another conference matchup of Ohio schools last week. The Golden Flashes have five straight losses on the ledger and have been outscored 211-83 in that stretch. Throw out the one-point loss to Ohio they suffered two weeks ago and their other four losses are by an average of 31.75 points. Kent State kept the game scoreless in the first quarter but couldn’t recover after Miami (OH) scored three second-quarter touchdowns to take a 21-0 halftime edge. The Golden Flashes were off the scoreboard until just 36 seconds remained in the contest. Kent State was outgained 504-274 in the game while losing the first down battle 25-14 and time of possession by a 39:06 to 20:54 mark.
— Kent State Athletics (@KentStAthletics) October 14, 2018
The Golden Flashes are mediocre offensively as they are currently 76th in the FBS in passing offense with 226 yards per game while the team is 69th in rushing with 171.4 yards per game. Kent State comes into this game 114th in the nation in scoring offense with 23 points per contest and is 113th in scoring defense by allowing 36.6 points per game. Woody Barrett has completed 157 of 246 passes for 1,560 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions while adding 297 yards plus four scores on the ground. Kavious Price hit his lone pass attempt for an 18-yard score while Dustin Crum is one of four for four yards. Justin Rankin (94 carries, team-high 511 yards, three TD) and Jo-El Shaw (35 carries, 166 yards, three TD) are a decent 1-2 combination on the ground. Mike Carrigan has hauled in 29 passes for 344 yards plus three scores. Antwan Dixon (28 grabs, 265 yards, TD), Isaiah McKoy (team-high 32 receptions, 342 yards, two TD) and Trey Harrell (22 receptions, 207 yards) are also valuable targets in the passing game. Matthew Trickett has hit 18 of 19 extra point attempts and nine of 11 field goal attempts this season with a long of 49.
- Golden Flashes are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game
- Golden Flashes are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- Zips are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a losing home record
- Zips are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following an ATS loss
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
There’s not a whole lot to like about either team in this one. Akron was completely shut down by Buffalo as their offensive numbers continue to spiral downward. Still, if there’s a team you can move the ball against this season, it’s Kent State. Not only are the Golden Flashes 114th in scoring defense, they are just 109th against the run by allowing 205 yards per game and a miserable 125th against the pass as opposing teams are piling up 303.1 yards per game through the air. Kent State gave up back to back 400 plus yard passing games already this season. Akron won’t do that but they have the talent to at least put up enough points to get the win here.
Prediction: Akron Zips -4
Full-Game Total Pick
We aren’t dealing with the UCFs and Oklahomas of the nation when it comes to these offenses. Both teams have had their struggles on that side of the ball, both with putting points on the board and just moving the chains in general. Kent State didn’t score for more than 59 minutes last week before avoiding a shutout in the final seconds. Akron mustered just a pair of field goals in their win over Buffalo. Can either team take advantage of the other’s mediocre defense to put points on the board in this one?
The under is 10-1 in Akron’s last 11 against teams with a losing record, 17-4 in their last 21 on fieldturf, 11-3 in their last 14 on the road and 8-3 in their last 11 after being held under 20 points in their last game. Kent State has seen the under go 5-1 in their last 6 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game and 5-2 in their last seven after a straight up loss of at least 20 points. The teams have stayed under the number in six of their last eight meetings: look for that to be the case here as well. Neither offense inspires enough confidence to push this one over the number.
Prediction: Under 54
Half-Time Side Pick
Akron was shut down by Buffalo last week as they saw their losing skid continue. The Zips catch a break facing a Kent State team that has struggled to do much offensively all year, as we saw last week. When you go 59 plus minutes without a point, there’s no reason to like your chances in the next game. I love Akron’s chances to be up double digits at the half here, so give the field goal and back the Zips.
Prediction: Akron Zips -3 (-110)
Half-Time Total Bet
Both teams have had their problems on the offensive side of the ball this season. The Zips started the year well but have fizzled since while Kent State has had the boots put to them repeatedly of late. Expecting an offensive bonanza from either of these teams is a foolish proposition as there’s not enough talent to go around. This one stays under the number at the half as to expect either team to have more than 14 to 17 points would be a lofty goal for certain.
Prediction: Under 26 (-110)