Football Travels to Penn State for ABC Showdown at Noon on Saturday

Football Travels to Penn State for ABC Showdown at Noon on Saturday

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Pregame Coverage:
Akron at Penn State Game Notes in PDF Format
Terry Bowden – Weekly Press Conference Video
Terry Bowden – MAC Weekly Media Teleconference Audio
MAC Weekly – Sept. 2

Gameday Coverage:
Listen to Free Audio Stream (TuneIn.com)
Watch on ESPN3 / WatchESPN
Follow Free Live Statistics


Game 2:  Akron (1-0) at Penn State (1-0)
Saturday, Sept. 6
Beaver Stadium (106,572)
University Park, Pa.


Akron hits the road for the first time, visiting Penn State on Saturday, Sept. 6 at Noon at Beaver Stadium.  

ABC (mirrored on ESPN2) will broadcast the game live online with Mike Patrick calling the action, Ed Cunningham providing color commentary, and Jeannine Edwards with sideline reports.  

The Zips' radio broadcast will air on the Akron-IMG Sports Network [SportsRadio 1350 AM (WARF) in Akron (flagship), 1420 WHK in Cleveland, 1440 WHKZ in Warren/Youngstown] with Steve French calling the action, Joe Dunn providing analysis, and Bill Morgan with sideline reports.  The pregame show starts at 11 a.m. ET. A free audio stream is available at SportsRadio1350.com.

Under the guidance of third-year head coach Terry Bowden, the Zips stand 1-0 after a 41-0 blanking of Howard on Aug. 28. The 2014 Akron squad returns 48 lettermen, including 14 starters.  The Zips utilize a spread offense and a 4-3 defense.

After one game, junior QB Kyle Pohl (Farmersville, Ohio) is the Zips' leading rusher with 48 yards on seven carries. Junior RB Conor Hudley (Hamilton, Ohio), follows with 25 yards on five carries. Under center, Pohl 23-of-36 for 308 yards and four touchdowns. Redshirt freshman QB Tommy Woodson (Monroeville, Pa.) is 5-of-8 for 92 yards and a touchdown.   Senior WR L.T. Smith III (Painesville, Ohio) is the top receiver with five catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore WR Mykel Traylor-Bennett (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) follows with 89 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions.  Defensively, senior LB C.J. Mizell (Tallahassee, Fla.) is the team leader with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery.

In the first national rankings of the 2014 season, Akron is ranked among the nation's Top 25 in 22 categories, including No. 1 scoring defense (0.0), No. 1 in red zone defense (0.000), No. 1 in sacks allowed (0.0), No. 1 in scoring defense (0.0). Individually, junior QB Kyle Pohl is No. 3 in passing touchdowns (4), No. 7 in points responsible (24.0), and No. 21 in passing efficiency (173.5).   Senior LB Justin March (Danville, Ill.) is No. 3 in forced fumbles (1.00), sophomore WR Mykel Traylor-Bennett is No. 3 in receiving touchdowns (2), and senior LB C.J. Mizell in No. 4 in fumbles recovered (1).
Penn State, under the tutelage of first-year head coach James Franklin, stands 1-0 after a thrilling 26-24 win over UCF in Dublin, Ireland.  The Nittany Lions return 14 starters to their multiple offense and multiple defense.

After one game, senior RB Zach Zwinak is the Lions' top rusher with 32 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.  Sophomore QB Christian Hackenberg is 32-of-47 for 454 yards and a touchdown.  Redshirt freshman WR DaeSean Hamilton, who is this week's Big Ten co-Freshman of the Week, as 165 yards on 11 receptions, both freshman records.  Defensively, senior LB Mike Hull has a team-best 11 tackles.

In the NCAA stats, Penn State is ranked No. 1 in red zone offense (1.00), No. 4 in passing offense (454.0) and No. 6 in rushing defense (24.0). Individually, PK Sam Ficken, the Big Ten Specialist of the Week, leads the nation in field goal percentage (1.00) and ranks No. 2 in field goals per game (4.00).  CB Jordan Lucas is No. 1 in passes defended (3.0), while QB Christian Hackenberg is No. 4 in passing yards (454) and No. 6 in completions (32.0).

Akron has 11 players from Pennsylvania on its roster, including three from Central Pa.—sophomore RB Jawon Chisholm (Harrisburg, Pa./Harrisburg HS), junior LB Dylan Evans (Nazareth, Pa./Pen Argyl Area HS), and senior OL Travis Switzer (Lancaster, Pa./Conestoga Valley HS).

Penn State has just two players from Ohio on its roster­— freshman T Chance Sorrell (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown HS) and sophomore WR Luke Vadas (Hunting Valley, Ohio/University School).

Akron head coach Terry Bowden has never coached a game at Beaver Stadium.  However, the Zips' mentor has faced the Nittany Lions before on the gridiron. As the head coach at Auburn, Bowden and the Tigers faced Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions in the Outback Bowl following the 1995 season.  Penn State claimed a 43-14 bowl win.

Additionally, as a member of the ABC broadcasting team, Bowden provided color analysis for a game at Beaver Stadium during the 1999 season.

PSU run game coordinator/offensive line coach Herb Hand worked as an offensive graduate assistant (1999-2000) at Clemson under head coach Tommy Bowden, Terry's older brother.

Akron associate head coach and defensive coordinator Chuck Amato is a native of Easton, Pa., and began his coaching career there as an assistant coach at Easton High School (1969-70).

Additional Connections
Akron football SID Cathy Bongiovi (Penn State '87) earned a degree in journalism. She previously worked at her alma mater for four years (1997-2001), advancing to the 2000 women's basketball Final Four with the Lady Lions. Bongiovi worked with PSU defensive recruiting coordinator and cornerbacks coach Terry Smith last season at Temple.

Saturday's game is the fifth meeting between Akron and Penn State in series history which began in 1999. The Nittany Lions hold a 4-0 record over the Zips. All four games were played at Beaver Stadium.

In the teams' last meeting in 2009, No. 8 Penn State claimed a 31-7 win in the season opener for both teams. The Lions led, 31-0, at intermission.  Akron's lone score was a 40-yard pass from Chris Jacquemain to Deryn Bowser. PSU had 515 yards of total offense on the day, compared to UA's 186.

PSU and Akron are scheduled to play again at Beaver Stadium on Sept. 2, 2017.

Akron all-time vs. Penn State:    0-4
Akron in games at Akron:    0-0
Akron in games at Penn State:    0-4
Akron in games at a neutral site:    0-0
First meeting in series:    1999, at Beaver Stadium, L, 24-70
Last meeting in series:    2009, at Beaver Stadium, L, 7-31

Akron Zips
Rushing:    Dennis Kennedy, 25-59, 1 TD (2006)
Passing:    Charlie Frye, 29-26-2-223 (2004)
Receiving:    Jabari Arthur, 8-61 (2004)

Penn State Nittany Lions
Rushing:    Tony Hunt, 8-137, 1 TD (2004)
Passing:    Daryll Clark, 29-41-0-353, 3 TDs (2009)
Receiving:    Derek Moye, 6-138, 1 TD (2009)

Year    Site    Result    Akron Coach    Penn State Coach
1999    Beaver Stadium    L, 24-70    Lee Owens    Joe Paterno
2004    Beaver Stadium    L, 10-48    J.D. Brookhart    Joe Paterno
2006    Beaver Stadium    L, 16-34    J.D. Brookhart    Joe Paterno
2009    Beaver Stadium    L, 7-31    J.D. Brookhart    Joe Paterno

The Akron seniors are members of a distinct breed: during their collegiate careers, they have played games in four of the nation's Top 5 biggest college stadiums.

As freshmen in 2011, the Zips began their careers in Columbus, falling to the Buckeyes, 42-0, before 105,001 fans. In 2012, Coach Bowden's first season at Akron, the Zips traveled to Tennessee, falling 47-26 before a crowd of 81,719.
Last season, the Zips traveled to Ann Arbor and took on No. 11 Michigan. With 107,102 screaming fans, the Zips saw a fourth-and-goal play for the win come up short as the Wolverines pulled out a 28-24 win .

1.     Michigan       Michigan Stadium   109,901
2.     Penn State    Beaver Stadium     106,572
3.     Texas A&M    Kyle Field              106,512
4.     Ohio State    Ohio Stadium         104,944
5.     Tennessee    Neyland Stadium    102,455

•    Six of Akron's 2014 opponents—Marshall (Military), Pittsburgh (Little Caesars Pizza), Ohio (Beef 'O' Brady's), Ball State (GoDaddy), Bowling Green (Little Caesars Pizza), and Buffalo (Famous Idaho Potato)— participated in bowls in 2013.

•    This is Akron's sixth season playing on-campus in InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field. The Zips have a 10-21 record at the venue (1-0 in 2014). The stadium opened in 2009.

•    Only one Zips' alum is playing in the NFL this season. LB Chase Blackburn (2001-04) enters his 10th season in the pros and second season with the Carolina Panthers.    

Akron's returning wide receivers rank among the nation's Top 10 corps in four categories.  
The Zips lead the nation with the highest percentage of receptions returning with 96.6.

Enterting the season, the Zips rank No. 5 with 371 career receptions.  Washington State holds the top spot with 546. In career receiving yards, UA stands No. 5 with 4,449.  UCF is first with 7,164. In career receiving touchdowns, Akron is tied for eighth with 28.  Washington State is first with 47.

Behind an offensive attack led by junior QB Kyle Pohl, Akron football had no trouble handling Howard in its season opener, cruising to a 41-0 victory at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field on Aug. 28.

The decisive win was Akron's first in a season-opening contest since 2007, when the Zips defeated Army, 22-14.

Pohl finished the night 23-of-36 with 308 yards through the air and four touchdowns to help Akron rack up 506 yards and 24 first downs as a team. He threw touchdowns to three different receivers and tallied 48 yards rushing on seven carries.

One of Pohl's top targets, sophomore Mykel Traylor-Bennett, caught four passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns, his first two TDs as a Zip.

The Akron defense was stout throughout the game, holding the Bison to 216 total yards and 15 first downs. LB C.J. Mizell recorded 10 tackles (eight solo) and a fumble recovery to lead the defense as the unit recorded its first shutout since a 41-0 triumph over Morgan State on Sept. 12, 2009.

Junior QB Kyle Pohl was named the Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the East Division on Sept. 1.

In the 41-0 shutout victory over Howard, Pohl led the Zips with a career-high four touchdown passes on 23-of-36 passing for 308 yards.  He threw three touchdown passes in the first six minutes of action, as each scoring drive was under 38 seconds. Pohl led all rushers with a career-high 48 yards on seven carries.

Junior QB Kyle Pohl is one of a record-setting 182 nominees for the 2014 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®.  The nominee list includes 90 student-athletes from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), and 92 student-athletes from a combination of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Division II, Division III, and NAIA levels.

Pohl has been one of the most active members of the Akron football team, while coordinating and participating in a number of community service events. He consistently coordinates events that allow our student-athletes to participate in community service, mainly through hospital and school visits. He has been a major part in the Zips' visitation program at Akron Children's Hospital, as well as donating his free time in order to spend time with kids of all ages.

The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® has served as one of the most coveted and prestigious off-the-field honors in college football. The award recognizes players whose charitable involvement and community service contributions stand out among all other student-athletes participating in the sport.

For the second consecutive year, junior P Zach Paul has been named one of 25 preseason candidates for the 2014 Ray Guy Award which honors the nation's top collegiate punter.

Last year, Paul was named third-team All-Mid-American Conference after averaging 42.9 yards per punt (65 punts), including 15 punts of 50-plus yards. He finished the season ranked sixth in the MAC and 30th nationally in punting average (42.9 ypp), while helping the Zips finish second in the MAC and 31st nationally in net punting as a team (38.18 ypp).

Paul also earned MAC East Division Special Teams Player of the Week on October 14 after averaging 45.7 yards per punt (nine punts) at Northern Illinois (October 12). He recorded one 60-yard punt, two touchbacks and two punts inside the NIU 20-yard line.

Akron was selected to finish second in the Mid-American Conference East Division this fall by the media behind Bowling Green.  Following the Falcons and Zips were Ohio, Buffalo, Kent State, Miami (Ohio), and Massachusetts.

In the West Division, Toledo was selected as the favorite by a slim four-point margin over Northern Illinois.

The 2014 MAC Championship Game is slated for Friday, Dec. 5 at Ford Field in Detroit. Kickoff is 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

 1.    Bowling Green    1.    Toledo
    2.    AKRON              2.    Northern Illinois
    3.    Ohio                  3.    Ball State
    4.    Buffalo              4.    Central Michigan
    5.    Kent State         5.    Western Michigan
    6.    Miami                6.    Eastern Michigan
    7.    Massachusetts

As most MAC football fans know, MAC football teams will play anytime.  This season five of Akron's 12 regular-season games will not be played on Saturday.  The Zips' opener against Howard was a Thursday night tilt, while all four games in November will be played on Tuesday evenings. Six of the Zips' 12 games are night games (five kickoff times still undetermined).

A minimum of six Akron football games will be televised nationally this season: Howard (ESPN3), at Penn State (ABC/ESPN), Bowling Green (ESPN2/U), at Buffalo (ESPN2/U), Massachusetts (ESPNU/3), and at Kent State (ESPN2/3).

Akron will select game captains for each game throughout the season.  The players will vote on their permanent team captains at the conclusion of the season.

For the third consecutive season Akron head coach Terry Bowden is a voting member for the weekly USA Today Coaches' Poll.

Following a bye week, Akron returns home to InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field on Saturday, Sept. 20 to host Marshall. Kickoff time has not been announced. Check GoZips.com for kickoff times.