Ryan Field – Evanston, Illinois
The Akron Zips finally opened their 2018 season last Saturday, celebrating the 10th anniversary of InfoCision Stadium with a dominating 41-7 victory over the Morgan State Bears.
Akron hits the road this week, traveling to the suburbs of Chicago to face Northwestern. The Wildcats are 1-1 on the season, beating Purdue in the season opener before losing last Saturday at home to Duke 21-7.
Saturday’s matchup is the first-ever meeting between the two schools
UA is 1-25 lifetime against the Big Ten, while NU is 19-11-1 against the MAC
NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS (1-1)
➤➤The Wildcats opened their home schedule last Saturday against Duke, scoring on their first possession, only to see the Blue Devils score 21 unanswered points in the second quarter. There was no scoring by either team after intermission.
➤➤ NU finished with a 10-3 record last season -- second to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Western Division. It then capped off the campaign by defeating Kentucky in the Music City Bowl.
➤➤ Head coach Pat Fitzgerald is in his 13th season at his Alma Mater and has a 88-66 record overall (49-50 in Big Ten Play)
A two-time All-American at linebacker, Fitzgerald played on the 1995 and ‘96 Wildcat teams that won the Big Ten. The 1995 team went to the Rose Bowl to face USC, although he did not play in the game due to a broken leg in the next-to-last game of the Regular season.
Fitzgerald, a two-time winner of the Butkus and Nagurski awards, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
➤➤ The Wildcats are averaging 391 yards of offense through the first two games. They are led by senior QB Clayton Thorson who has completed 59.4 percent of his passes (34-for-64) for 370 yards.
➤➤ The ground game is paced by sophomore Jeremy Larkin. He has three consecutive 100-yard rushing games, dating back to last season, and has 264 yards in the first two games.
➤➤ Flynn Nagel leads receivers with 17 catches for 191 yards, including a career-high 12 against the Blue Devils for 121 yards.
➤➤ The Defense is led by sophomore Blake Gallagher, who has 21 total tackles (13 solo). He had 13 total stops against Duke.
➤➤ Junior DE Joe Gaziano, returning to the lineup after a injury sidelined him against Purdue, registered a pair of sacks against Duke.
AKRON ZIPS (1-0)
➤➤ The Zips finally opened their 2018 season with 41-7 win over Morgan State last Saturday afternoon in the rain at InfoCision Stadium
➤➤ UA scored on its first three possessions, holding a 17-0 lead after the first quarter and raised the advantage to 27-0 at halftime. The defense held the Bears scoreless until the final drive of the game.
➤➤ The Zips had 437 yards of offense, led by RB Van Edwards, who had 17 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns (his second career 100 yard rushing game).
➤➤ QB Cato Nelson completed 16-of-26 passes for 232 yards and three scores.
➤➤ WR Jonah Morris and DeAndre Williams each had six receptions and a touchdown (Morris for 94 yards and Williams for 46).
➤➤ The defense was led by LB John Lako (4-2) amd Ulysses Gilbert (1-5) each with six tackles apiece
➤➤ PK Nick Gasser was named MAC East Special Teams Player of the Week after he made two field goals, four extra points and had a 47-yard punt.