Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, Mass
CBS Sports Network
By EVAN MEYER
There are many plays in a football game. Particularly in close contests, one of those plays -- made or not made -- could prove to be a game changer.
The Akron Zips failed to get that game changing play last Saturday losing a defensive struggle to Central Michigan at home, 14-6, to drop their record to 3-5 overall and 1-3 in Mid-American Conference play.
This Saturday, the Akron Blue and Gold look to end a two-game losing streak as they head out on a two-game road trip. Their first stop is Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts home of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots, where they will battle the Minutemen of Massachusetts.
Here's a look at the two teams:
(CLICK READ MORE TO CONTINUE . . . )
LAST TIME OUT:
The Zips fell to Central Michigan last Saturday at InfoCision Stadium 14-6. It was UA’s second consecutive loss and third in the last four games. The Zips' lone touchdown came in the second quarter when Sophomore QB Thomas Woodson connected with WR Jerome Lane for a 57-yard strike down the right sideline.
The Zips had trouble moving the football against the CMU defense, gaining just 277 total yards, with only 25 coming on the ground. Senior RB Conor Hundley led all rushers in the game with 34 yards on 12 carries. Woodson completed 22-of-36 passes for 252 yards with an interception and the score to Lane. Senior WR Imani Davis had eight catches for 96 yards.
The defense, meanwhile, bounced back after surrendering 59 points and 532 yards in their previous game to Bowling Green. Central managed just 265 total yards and 14 points. Senior LB Jatavis Brown had six total tackles (five solo) and a sack
The Zips opened the 2015 season losing to nationally ranked Oklahoma 41-3 on September 5. …Then in the home opener September 12, they fell to the Pittsburgh Panthers, 24-7.
UA collected its first victory of the season in a 52-9 rout of FCS member Savannah State at home before defeating the Rajun Cajuns of Louisiana (Sun Belt) 35-14.
Akron opened MAC play with a 14-12 home loss to Ohio…It then rebounded with a 47-21 win at Eastern Michigan.A 59-10 drubbing at Bowling Green preceded the loss last week at Central Michigan…
The game with the Minutemen is the first of the final two road games for the Zps. Next week, they head to Miami before ending the season with home games against Buffalo and then the game with Kent State for possession of the Wagon Wheel trophy
OFFENSE: UA is averaging 21.5 points and 347.8 yards per game
RUSHING: Conor Hundley 113 carries-577 yards six touchdowns
PASSING: Thomas Woodson 92-174-6 1241 yards nine touchdown
RECEIVING: Imani Davis 30 receptions-390 yards two touchdowns
DEFENSE: The Zips are allowing 24.5 points and 346.2 yards per game
TACKLES: LB Dylan Evans (41 solo-27 assists-68 total)
TACKLES FOR LOSSES: LB Jatavius Brown 10-58 yards
SACKS: Brown 7 ½ - 52 yards
INTERCEPTIONS: CB DeAndre Scott 4-13
PASS BREAKUPS: Evans 6
PUNTING: Zach Paul 50-40.3 yards per kick (seven kicks 50 or more yards)
PLACE KICKING: Robert Stein 8-12 FG/20-21 PAT
KICK RETURNS: Van Edwards (KR) 15-21.7 yds avg A.J. Coney (PR) 11-5.1
UA ranked eighth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in rushing defense yielding just 97.6 yards per game…WR Imani Davis registered eight receptions against CMU for a career high…CB Jordan George collected his first career interception in the third quarter…WR Anthony Young made his first career start…Rodney Coe had a career high two sacks and three TFL…The last four games will come against Eastern Division opposition
THE SERIES: The game is the fourth lifetime meeting between the two schools, with the Zips holding a 2-1 advantage. They have won the last two games, including last year’s 30-6 victory at InfoCision Stadium …This is the second game against UMass at Foxboro, with UA emerging victorious 14-13.
MASSACHUSETTS MINUTEMEN (1-7, 0-4 MAC EAST)
LAST TIME OUT;
Last Saturday UMass traveled to Muncie, where it lost to the Ball State Cardinals, 20-10. It was Massachusetts' their fourth consecutive setback. BSU opened a 10-3 halftime lead and never looked back. The Minutemen's lone touchdown came in the third quarter when QB Blake Frohnapfel connected with WR Elgin Long for a seven-yard score. Frohnapfel finished the game completing 32-of-44 passes for 259 yards an interception and the scoring strike to Long. WR Tajae Sharpe led all recievers in the game with 11 catches for 83 yards. Defensively, LB Joe Colton and Johan Santos-Knox had 10 total tackles each
Massachusetts opened the 2015 season with three consecutive losses (at Colorado, Temple at Foxboro, at Notre Dame ranked sixth in the first College Football Playoff poll). Against the Fighting Irish, before a national television audience, the Minutemen held their own for a half before the home team pulled away in the second half. UMass collected its first win of the season by defeating Florida International (Sun Belt) 24-14.
At Bowling Green, Frohnapfel and the Falcons Matt Johnson put on an aerial display that was one for the ages, but the Minutemen fell, 62-38. After a 15-10 loss to Kent State, UMass faced previously undefeated and nationally ranked Toledo. The Minutemen led 28-10 at halftime before the Rockets scored 41 of the last 48 points to take a 51-35 victory, Then came the loss last week at BSU
After their game with the Zips, the Minutemen have road games at Eastern Michigan and Buffalo. UMass will end its season and MAC affiliation with a final home game against Miami -- also in Foxboro
OFFENSE: UMass is averaging 22.6 points & 423.6 yards per game
RUSHING: Marquis Young 59 carries-436 yards two touchdowns
PASSING: Blake Frohnapfel 211-353-7 2293 yards 15 touchdowns
RECEIVING: Tajae Sharpe 88 receptions-980 yards four touchdowns
DEFENSE: The Minutemen are allowing 37.1 points & 498 yards per game
TACKLES: Jovan Santos-Knox (29-60-89)
TFL: Santos-Knox 5 ½-17 yards
SACKS: Two with 2 ½
INTERCEPTIONS: Four with two
PUNTING: Laurent Logan 45-43.1 avg per kick
PLACE KICKING: Laurent Logan 4-7 FG/ 15-15 PAT
KICK RETURNS: James Oliphant (KR) 21-26.6/Trey Dudley-Giles (PR) 5-48
This is the Minutemen’s final season in the MAC as a football-only member. They will play an independent schedule beginning next season…QB Blake Frohnapfel has passed for 5,638 yards in his career at UMass. He is one of only four QB in school history with at least 5,000 yards…. His 286.6 yards per game average is third in the MAC and 20th in the FBS…WR Tajae Sharpe is 20 yards away with 1,000 receiving yards for the season and his 122.5 yards per game average is sixth best in the FBS…LB Jovan Santos-Knox had 20 total tackles against Toledo. It was the most by a UMass defender since September, 2004. His 11.1 tackles per game average is tied for eighth in the FBS