The Michigan State Spartans host the Akron Zips at Spartan Stadium this Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Let’s get to know more about Akron.
School: The University of Akron
Location: Akron, Ohio
Head Coach: Joe Moorhead (first season with Akron, 1-0 record, 53–25 all-time record)
Series History: MSU leads 2-0. The Spartans and Zips have met just twice on the gridiron, both resulting in Spartan wins in 1913 and 1914, but the programs have not met since.
Akron comes into Spartan Stadium off of a nail-biting overtime win last Thursday against FCS opponent Saint Francis (Pennsylvania). Pittsburgh transfer, Shocky Jacques-Louis was a bright spot for the Zips as he had eight catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. The Zips will need much more production out of the entire offense to keep the game close this week with the Spartans.
Players/Positions To Watch
The Zips’ offense struggled much of the night in their 30-23 overtime win last week, only mustering 23 points in regulation as 17.5-point favorites against Saint Francis. The offensive line’s play had much to do with that, as it allowed six sacks, and could only muster 3.0 yards per carry in the run game against a much lesser opponent.
This week, Akron’s offensive line will be going up against reigning Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week, Jacoby Windmon who posted four sacks, eight total pressures and a forced fumble against Western Michigan in Week One. The Spartans in total gathered seven sacks and 11 tackle for loss against the Broncos.
In order for the Zips to have a chance in Spartan Stadium on Saturday, their line must be able to neutralize the Spartan pass rush and gain some traction in the run game to keep some pressure off quarterback DJ Irons, who had pressure in his face constantly in Week One.
One of the lone bright spots for the Akron in the season opener against Saint Francis was the Zips’ No. 1 wide receiver, University of Pittsburgh transfer Shocky Jacques-Louis.
Head coach Joe Moorhead is known to be a creative offensive mind going back to his time at Penn State when he helped lead the Nittany Lions to the 2016 Big Ten Championship as offensive coordinator. Coach Moorhead was able to get the speedy Jacques-Louis the ball in a few different facets, including a 41-yard double-move touchdown to take the lead in the third quarter.
Jacques-Louis had an outstanding day overall, which was much needed for the Zips to survive an upset-minded Saint Francis team. Expect Coach Moorhead to empty the playbook and get Jacques-Louis the ball against a Michigan State secondary that still has some question marks.
Expect the Spartans to put together a more complete and dominant performance against the Zips on Saturday, as the talent and depth is just not there for Coach Moorhead early in his tenure as Akron’s head coach.