Penn State (1-0, 0-0 BIG TEN)
Noon, Saturday, Sept. 6
By EVAN MEYER
The Akron Zips opened the 2014 season in resounding fashion as they shutout the Howard Bison Thursday night at home rolling up over 500 yards in total offense while winning their season opener for the first time since 2007. It was their first opening day shutout since 1986 – the year before they moved into the Football Bowl Subdivision.
This Saturday, the Akron Blue and Gold make the trip east to Penn State where they will face a Nittany Lions team that edged Central Florida in their season opener – held in Ireland - on a field goal in the final seconds.
LAST WEEK: Defeated Howard 41-0 a InfoCision Stadium
QB Kyle Pohl passed for a career high four touchdowns, completed 22-of-35 passes for 304 yards (second career 300-yard passing game) and rushed for 48 yards to earn MAC East Offensive Player of the Week honors…Nine difference receivers caught at least one pass, led by WR Mykel Traylor –Bennett, who had four for 89 yards and two scores…LB C.J. Mizell led the defense with 10 tackles (eight solo) and also had a fumble recovery that led to a UA touchdown in the first quarter…The Zips defense held Howard to 216 yards of total offense with a turnover and four sacks.
Akron won four straight games and five of its last last six dating back to last season… The Zips were picked to finished second in the Eastern Division in the preseason MAC poll…A lot hinges on the offense, UA has a strong defense and can compete with the best in the conference. However, the offense must be more consistent, especially in the passing game.
NOTES & QUOTES:
The shutout of Howard was Akron’s first shutout since 2009 when the Zips blanked Morgan State (41-0) in the first game ever played at InfoCision Stadium…The shutout was UA’s second since joining the FBS in 1987 and their first in a season opener since 1986 over Salem College at the Rubber Bowl 35-0… It was the Zips’ third straight win at home dating back to last season -- their longest since 2006…UA is 1-24 lifetime against the Big Ten (0-4 vs. Penn State), including loast year’s heartbreaking 28-24 loss at Michigan
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
LAST WEEK: Penn State edged Central Florida in Dublin, Ireland, 26-24
QB Christian Hackenberg completed 32 of 47 for 454 yards and a touchdown…WR Daeshawn Hamilton had 11 receptions for 165 yards…LB Mike Hull led the defense with 11 total tackles (four solo)…PK Sam Ficken made four field goals -- a career high -- including a 36-yarder as time expired to defeat the Golden Knights
Penn State is going operating under its second head coach in three seasons. After a remarkable stint by Bill O’ Brien, who took over after the Jerry Sandusky scandal and subsequent passing of legendary head coach Joe Paterno, O’ Brien left for the NFL Houston Texans. James Franklin then came from Vanderbilt to become PSU’s 16th head coach in its 128 year history…On offense the Nittany Lions are led by Hackenberg, who as a freshman passed for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns while the Lions went 7-5 in 2013 (4-4 in Big Ten Play)…The defense is led by CB Jordan Lucas. He had 65 total tackles a season ago (45 solo) with 13 pass breakups and three interceptions
NOTES & QUOTES:
The game is the fifth all-time in the series with PSU taking the previous four (all coming at Beaver Stadium), including 31-7 on September 5, 2009…Technically the wins have been vacated by the NCAA in lieu of the Sandusky scandal…PSU is 21-3 lifetime against the MAC and 39-19 lifetime against schools from Ohio…PSU will play six bowl teams from a season ago on its 2014 schedule.