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Head coach Terry Bowden has completed three years at the Zips helm. Since stepping into a struggling program, his teams have gone 11-25. He previous teams compiled a 151-87-2 mark.
The Zips totaled five wins last year, finishing 5-7 overall and 3-5 in MAC play. Most of the damage came down the stretch as UA dropped five of its last six. The finale was particularly disappointing as rival Kent State came back to win on a late touchdown.
Quarterback Kyle Pohl tossed nine touchdown passes and eight interceptions while connecting on just under 55 percent of his passes last year as a junior. Freshman Tommy Woodson was at 53.1 percent in completions with five TDs and six interceptions. At the end of the day, the Zips ranked last among MAC teams in pass efficiency, although they did manage a sixth place ranking on total pass offense (249.6 ypg).
Running back Jawon Chisholm had 620 yards rushing while averaging 5.4 ypc in 2014. That gave him 3,403 yards in his four-year career. Chisolm had big play capability, as witnessed by his long of 80 yards (TD) last year. There could be a little more grind to the Zips this year, but Conor Hundley averaged 5.2 ypc and totaled 540 yards as a junior. UA will hope to move up from 10th in rushing offense (123.7 ypg).
Akron was ninth in scoring offense (22.6 ppg) and also in total offense (373.2 ypg) among MAC teams.
The Zips finished next to last (12th) in third down conversions (34.3 percent) in 2014.
Among the departed are Akron’s two top pass catchers, who totaled 107 catches for 1,147 yards and four TDs.
UA was last in red zone offense, scoring on 68.1 percent of trips to the zone. It cashed in with 23 touchdowns (15 passing and eight rushing), as well as nine field goals.
Akron ranked sixth in turnover margin (0.17). Although the Zips gave up the ball 26 times, their defense secured 24 turnovers on 11 fumble recoveries and 14 interceptions.
Defense was a bright spot for the Zips, who led MAC teams in scoring defense (23.1 ppg). They tied Western Michigan for second (both 371.2 ypg), trailing only Central Michigan (355.5 ypg). Two first team All-MAC selections are among six returning starters for this unit.
Linebacker Jatavis Brown led UA with 99 stops, including a team-high 14.5 TFL.
Akron ranked third in pass defense (222.5 ypg) and fourth in rushing defense (148.7 ypg).
Robert Stein converted 81 percent of his field goals and all 27 extra points in his junior season. Zach Paul, All-MAC Second Team, averaged 42.5 yards per punt.