BRING THE WAGON WHEEL HOME!
If this sight of Kent State President Lester Lefton and the rest of his Flashes raising the Wagon Wheel in triumph isn’t enought to make you visit the emergency room with excruciating abdominal pains, I don’t know what will. For 8 out of the last ten years, the Wagon Wheel has called The University of Akron home. For the past year, it has been in the world of the black squirrel at Kent Community School, aka Kent State University.
For the Seniors
There have been two articles in the news media about how the Zips seniors are pumped up for two reasons: This is the last Wagon Wheel game to be played in the Rubber Bowl; and this is their last chance to bring the Wheel back where it belongs - on the Hilltop.
The Match Up
This game has all the makings of being the best contest in the MAC this week.
Kent State comes into the Bowl with a 2-1 record with wins over Iowa State and Division I-AA Delaware State. The Flashes lone loss came at the hands of Kentucky. A win over Akron would see the Flashes with their first 3-1 start since the Ronald Reagan admnistration in 1987.
The Zips are going to have to find a way to contain a double threat from the Kent State offense. Quarterback Julian Edelman and running back Eugene Jarvis. Edelman is coming off a high-powered performance against Delaware State with 267 passing and rushing yards combined with three touchdowns. For the season, Edelman is averaging almost 188 yards passing per game, completing 54 percent of his passes.
Jarvis has been a dynamo in the backfield. He is 15th in the nation averaging almost 127 rushing yards per game. He has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of the Flashes’ three games this season.
Kent also poses a threat on the defensive side of the ball, led by defensive back Fritz Jacques, who leads Kent State with 24 tackles. Jameson Konz and Kevin Hogan lead the charge on the D-line.
In the week since Indiana, a big question is whether or not the Zips have figured out a way to contain a fleet-footed quarterback? The Zips had an extremely difficult time last week with Kellen Lewis spreading the defense, then finding holes up the middle.
The Zips will have a threat of their own this week, with Carlton Jackson starting at quarterback. Jackson had the most success in moving the Zips last week in Bloomington and poses a substantial running threat himself.
Zips wide receiver Jabari Arthur will challenge the Kent secondary. Arthur is third in the MAC in receptions per game (7.33) and receiving yards per game (91.67). Last week against the Hoosiers, Arthur caught seven balls for 118 yards.
If Akron is going to have a balanced attack, they’re going to need junior running back Dennis Kennedy to come alive. In the first three games, Kennedy has rushed for 95 yards and is Akron’s leading rusher.
Key for the Zips will be establishing the running game with Kennedy and Jackson balanced with effectively airing it out to Arthur.
This is going to be an entertaining game to watch. Let’s see a good crowd at the Bowl.
The Kent-Ravenna Wretched Courier reports that the Flashes may have some surprises for their arch-rivals!
TALE OF THE TAPE
Kent State (2-1, 0-0 MAC East, 0-0 MAC Overall) at Akron (1-2, 0-0 MAC East, 0-0 MAC Overall) - Noon
SITE: Rubber Bowl (31,000/AstroPlay) - Akron, Ohio
TELEVISION: ESPN Plus/ESPN Game Plan (Jim Barbar, Bob Chmiel)
RADIO: Sportsradio 1350 AM/Akron, WNIR 100.1 FM/Kent
SERIES RECORD: Akron leads 27-20-2
LINE: Kent State by 3 points.
The loss of David Harvey has forced Akron Head Coach J.D. Brookhart to reload the Zips’ passing attack - so writes David Lee Morgan in today’s Beacon Journal.
The Plain Dealer’s Elton Alexander has a feature on Alexandra Corona, one of only two female directors of video services for a D-I football program.
Alexander also reports in the Pee Dee that Zips defensive back Reggie Corner is eyeing a career as a coach.
OT - (OFF TOPIC)
THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON VIKINGS?
I saw a headline in The Plain Dealer that was disturbing to say the least - Cleveland State, U of Akron could be combined.
The article was short on facts. There’s a good reason for that - there are none, at this point. The sources for the story are suspect. There is a lack of attribution. “Some of the talk…,” “…others familiar with the discussions…,” not very impressive. It leaves the reader asking, “How credible is this article?” And why Cleveland State and not Kent State?
The “talk” according to the front page story, involves, in addition to merging Akron and CSU, moving the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (NEOUCOM) from Portage County to downtown Cleveland or expanding its Rootstown campus.
Eric Fingerhut, Governor Ted Strickland’s higher-education chancellor, is not commenting.
As an Akron alum, I must admit the news makes me ill. However, as an Ohio taxpayer, I have always felt that Ohio has too many tax-supported institutions of higher learning. To me, some consolidation makes sense.
One cannot form an opinion based on what is (or what is not) known. I will have to see a proposal. I’m keeping an open mind, but Mr. Fingerhut had better tread lightly.
Contact Don Olson at: email@example.com