Akron Zips (1-0) at Northwestern Wildcats (1-1)
College Football: Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 7:30 pm (Ryan Field)
The Line: Northwestern Wildcats -21 -- Over/Under: Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Akron Zips and Northwestern Wildcats meet Saturday in college football action at Ryan Field.
The Akron Zips look for a strong road victory here to start 2-0 for the first time in over a decade. The Akron Zips have lost five of their last seven road games. Kato Nelson is completing 61.5 percent of his passes for 232 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Nelson has two or more touchdown passes in three of his last five games. Jonah Morris and Andre Williams have combined for 140 receiving yards and two touchdowns while Kwadarrius Smith has one reception. The Akron Zips ground game is averaging 200 yards per contest, and Van Edwards Jr. leads the way with 109 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Akron is allowing seven points and 192 yards per game. John Lako leads the Akron Zips with six tackles, Josh Ward has one sack and Jamal Davis II has one interception.
The Northwestern Wildcats need a bounce back win to get a game above a .500 record after a rough loss to the Duke Blue Devils. The Northwestern Wildcats have won six of their last eight home games. Clayton Thorson is completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 370 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. Thorson has one or less touchdown passes in six of his last seven games. Flynn Nagel and Bennett Skowronek have combined for 275 receiving yards on 24 receptions while Jeremy Larkin has 11 receptions. The Northwestern Wildcats ground game is averaging 132.5 yards per contest, and Jeremy Larkin leads the way with 264 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, Northwestern is allowing 24 points and 386.5 yards per game. Blake Gallagher leads the Northwestern Wildcats with 21 tackles, Joe Gaziano has two sacks and JR Pace has one interception.
The Zips are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games. The Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games, 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games in September and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The under is 38-12-1 in Wildcats last 51 home games and the under is 50-21 in Zips last 71 games overall.
I was higher than most on the Akron Zips heading into this season, as they're an experienced squad that put up fights last year against good teams. While a blowout win over Morgan State does nothing to add to that confidence, it was nice to see the Zips abuse a team they should beat easily. The Northwestern Wildcats were my dark horse contender in the Big Ten, but that loss to Duke at home was ugly. Northwestern is also a grind it out old school Big Ten team that doesn't win many blowouts. In fact, Northwestern has only been favored by 17 or more points just five times since the 2015 season. The Northwestern Wildcats don't have the offense to put teams away and is often in a fourth quarter battle. I'm taking the Akron Zips and my three free touchdowns.