Akron Zips (1-1) at Marshall Thundering Herd (1-0)
|Date & Time||Saturday September 17, 2016, 12:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Marshall Thundering Herd -16.5 -- Over/Under:
CBS Sports Network
The Akron Zips will travel to Joan C. Edwards Stadium to take on the Marshall Thundering Herd this Saturday afternoon in College Football action.
The Akron Zips had no answers against the 10th ranked Wisconsin Badgers and fell to 1-1 (0-0 MAC) on the season after being defeated 54-10 this past Saturday. Akron fell behind by a 30-10 margin by halftime and was outgained by Wisconsin by a 586-224 margin. Akron lost the turnover battle by a 2-0 margin and had a difficult time slowing down the Badgers rushing attack as they allowing Wisconsin to rush for 294 yards. On the season, Akron is averaging 28.5 ppg on 400.0 total yards (285.0 passing, 119.5 rushing). Offensively, leading the way for the Zips has been QB Thomas Woodson who has 6 TD’s and 2 INT on the season while averaging 257.5 passing yards/game. Jerome Lane is arguably the biggest playmaker on the offensive end and on the season had 2 TD’s while averaging 119.5 yards/game on 6.5 rec/game. Ohio State transfer Warren Ball is leading the way for the Akron backfield as he has a TD while averaging 90.5 yards/game on 12.5 att/game. Defensively, Akron is allowing their opponents to average 39.0 ppg on 486.0 total yards per game (296.0 passing, 190.0 rushing). Akron has yet to force a turnover on the defensive end this season and has a turnover margin of minus 4. Leading the way for the Zips defense has been LB Ulysees Gilbert III (16 tackles, 1 sack) and DB James Turner (16 tackles).
The Marshall Thundering Herd opened up their season last Saturday with a dominating 62-0 victory over the Morgan State Bears. Marshall had no problem cursing for the victory as the Thundering Herd found themselves up by a 21-0 margin at the end of the 1st quarter and 49-0 at halftime. Marshall outgained Morgan by a 530-222 margin and won the turnover battle by a 4-1 margin. Leading the way for Marshall was QB Chase Litton who completed 13 of 16 passes for 309 yards and 6 TD’s. Offensively, Marshall was slightly about average in 2015 as they ranked 51st in scoring offense at 31.3 ppg and will expect to continue to improve now as Chase Litton is in his 2nd year under center. Marshall has a talented TE in Ryan Yurachek who had 9 TD’s in 2015. WR’s Deon-Tay McManus and Justin Hunt will look to be the main weapons for Litton at the WR position. Hyleck Foster will be the main option in the backfield and is coming off a 2015 season in which he had 3 TD’s and averaged 37.75 yards/game. Defensively, Marshall was one of the best in the country last season as they held their opponents to an average of 17.8 ppg however, they’ll need to replace LB Evan McKelvey who was the 2015 C-USA defensive player of the year. Marshall has limited starters returning on the defense time but still should be able to put together a solid defense led by DE Gary Thompson.
The Zips are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 road games however, just 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Thundering Herd are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. MAC opponents and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall.
Akron had a solid 2015 season which included a Bowl Win over the Utah State aggies and although they suffered a tough loss against Wisconsin last week, they should be competitive in the MAC conference this season. Marshall has one of the most consistent programs in the country winning at least 10 games over the past three seasons and if they can get improved play by QB Chase Litton and keep their defensive near the level they were last year, have a good shot for another 10-win season. Marshall is going to the be the popular pick in this one playing at home, but when it comes to the talent level of these teams, Akron is as talented as Marshall. I expect to win Marshall to win this game however, as the Zips are getting 2+ TD’s worth of points, I’m taking Akron to cover in this one. Take Akron and the points.