Western Michigan vs. Akron prediction and game preview. The Broncos play their first game as an AP-ranked team when they visit the Zips on Saturday.
Western Michigan vs. Akron Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 15 – 3:30 ET
Where: InfoCision Stadium, Akron, Ohio.
TV Broadcast: CBS Sports Network
Welcome to the AP Top 25, Western Michigan. The Broncos, who appeared in the Coaches Poll last week at No. 25, earned their first-ever ranking from the AP this week, checking in at No. 24. It’s a fantastic accomplishment for coach P.J. Fleck, who has turned WMU from a 1-11 team in his first year in 2013 into a 6-0 squad with dreams of a New Year’s Six bowl.
The Zips aren’t going to be intimidated, though. Akron, along with Western Michigan and Ohio, is 2-0 in the MAC and can make a statement by beating the conference’s latest darling. A double-digit underdog, the Zips face a tall task of trying to stop the Broncos’ offense.
What to Know About Western Michigan
Western Michigan’s 478.5 yards per game rank second in the MAC, and the team finished with 573 in last week’s 45-30 win over Northern Illinois. The Broncos remain the only team in the nation without a turnover, as Zach Terrell finished 18-of-24 for 375 yards and three touchdowns, two going to Corey Davis. The wide receiver is getting attention as a possible first-round NFL draft pick had six catches for 122 yards, and that duo could be dangerous against an Akron pass defense that ranks 11th in the 12-team MAC.
But the Broncos are far from just an offensive team. They rank second in the conference in total defense and have 10 takeaways over their last four games. Western Michigan’s plus-11 turnover margin ranks second in the nation behind Washington’s plus-13.
What to Know About Akron
Turnover differential was the main reason Akron came away victorious Saturday. The Zips had three takeaways and didn’t turn the ball over in a 35-13 win over Miami (OH), a game during which they gained only 39 more yards than the RedHawks.
Akron has won the last two with backup quarterback Tra’Von Chapman, who tossed three touchdown passes while adding 80 yards and a score on the ground last week. Regular starter Thomas Woodson has a shoulder injury, and it’s unclear whether he’ll be ready to face the Broncos. Even if he is, coach Terry Bowden could elect to stick with Chapman after performing well over the last two.
Offense: Western Michigan – Terrell and Davis get most of the credit, but Jamauri Bogan (530 yards) and Jarvion Franklin (514 yards) have rushed for five touchdowns apiece to pace the running game.
Defense: Western Michigan – Akron has allowed the second-most passing yards in the MAC.
Special Teams: Western Michigan – Zips punter Nick Gasser is averaging a MAC-worst 37.4 yards per punt.
Coaching: Western Michigan – Bowden has experience, but Fleck is clearly one of the country’s best coaches.
Intangibles: Even – These schools haven’t met since 2011.
Matchup To Watch
Terrell and Davis vs. Akron’s pass defense
The Zips picked off two passes last week and haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer in any of their last three games. Terrell is going to challenge that streak, and it’s no secret he’ll be targeting Davis plenty.
Spread: Western Michigan -10.5
Western Michigan vs. Akron Prediction
The Broncos will just be too much on both sides of the ball. Terrell throws two of his three touchdowns to Davis and the Zips’ offense has trouble moving it all day. Western Michigan wins handily.
Western Michigan vs. Akron final score prediction: Western Michigan 42, Akron 20