Staff Predictions: CMU-Akron

Corey Dull, Staff WriterCentral Michigan hosts Akron this Saturday at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Last Saturday, CMU did not put on a good showing in front of its homecoming crowd, losing 41-30 to Ball State. The Chippewas could not move the chains, going 2-for-10 on third down. Ryan Radcliff did have a great game, completing 23 of 38 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns. Cody Wilson was a bright spot for the Chippewas as he eclipsed the 100 yard mark for the fourth time this season, along with catching his first touchdowns of the season. Wilson also has caught a pass for 36 consecutive games, which is the third longest active streak in the nation. However, the Chippewa defense gave up too many big plays on the ground. Ball State had two rushers gain more than 100 yards on the ground.
Akron was defeated 37-7 against Northern Illinois last week. The Zips allowed over 500 yards of total offense in the contest. Akron's defense is ranked No. 112 in the nation in scoring defense and they have given up 37.8 ppg in MAC games. However, on the offensive side of the ball, the Zips have the No. 11 passing offense in the nation. Senior quarterback Dalton Williams has thrown for 2,362 yards and 20 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. The Zips love to air it out and it will be a tough job for the CMU defense to stop.
Somebody has to win Saturday. Expect a ton of points, but I think the Zips score the most.
Prediction: Akron 42, Central Michigan 31
Jeff Horodeczny, Staff WriterThe Chippewas host the Akron Zips this weekend, with both teams looking for their first win in the MAC. Akron's only win this season was against Morgan State, who is in the MEAC. Despite their record, Akron has a formidable passing attack, with an average of 311 passing yards per game, which ranks them, which is 11th in the country. Look for Akron senior quarterback Dalton Williams to be passing the ball all afternoon. He has attempted over 50 passing attempts in four games this season. Williams will be looking to get the ball to Marquelo Suel, who has an average of 11.1 yards per catch. The CMU defense could be catching a break, as Akron starting running back Jawon Chisholm is questionable with a wrist injury. He had 177 rushing yards rushing against a very good Ohio team a few weeks ago. The CMU defense has been out of sync since opening up MAC play, giving up over 400 yards of offense to every MAC team that they have played so far. They also have not recorded a sack since the Toledo game. On offense, CMU will be looking to get the ball to Zurlon Tipton. Dan Enos said last week in his postgame press conference that he would like to give Zurlon the ball 30 times a game. The Chippewas have been outscored 76-37 in the first quarter. I look for them to change that and to try to keep the powerful Akron offense off the field by giving the ball to Zurlon as much as possible. This is a must win game for the Chippewas. Losing to a one win team at home would be a huge negative for the program and would lead to questions about Coach Enos' job status.
Prediction: Central Michigan 45, Akron 41
Steve Livingston, PublisherBoth of these teams come into this game desperately needing a win. Even though they are better than they were last year, Akron is 1-7 and has yet to win a game in the MAC. CMU is 2-5 and is also winless in the MAC. A loss at home to this Akron squad would erase all the good will that Coach Enos earned with the Chippewas win over Iowa in September. However, all five of CMU's games left on the schedule are winnable and reaching a bowl game is not impossible, but they cannot afford a loss to the Zips.
Both of these offenses have been solid and both defenses have been putrid. Quarterbacks Ryan Radcliff and Dalton Williams should chuck the ball all over the yard at Kelly-Shorts on Saturday. The difference might be the running game and both teams have solid backs. CMU has Zurlon Tipton and Akron has Jawon Chisholm, if he is healthy.
I've said this every week and I will say it again: expect a lot of points in this game. The game will probably turn on special teams play, turnovers and penalties. Truth be told, I have no feel for how I think this game will go. Chippewas win at home.
Prediction: Central Michigan 41, Akron 38
Tyler Parsons, Publisher
It didn't really hit me until it came time to make this prediction, but I am actually a little torn on this one. And that says everything. It is 2012, and I am having legitimate thoughts about picking a 1-7 Akron team to beat CMU at home.
Had I not been around to see the 2007 CMU defense that allowed 36.9 PPG and opposing quarterbacks to average 303 yards through the air, then I would strongly consider this years to be the worst I have ever seen. They haven't been able to pressure the quarterback, they can't create turnovers, they can't stop the run, and they can't get off the field on third down. In other words, they had better improve or CMU is going to really struggle to get more W's.
Fortunately for CMU, Akron is basically a defensive duplicate, and they struggle to stop the things CMU is good at. I actually see the Chippewas pulling this one out, but I really could flip a coin, it's that close.
Prediction: Central Michigan 34, Akron 31
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