2006 record: 5-7
2006 Sagarin: 105
Coach: JD Brookhart (4th season, 19-19)
Series: First meeting
The Zips are not far removed from the pinnacle of their football success: in 2005, Akron won the MAC and played in the Motor City Bowl (losing to Memphis), its first bowl game. This year's Zips earned some preseason accolades. One site I saw (link lost) picked Akron to win its division.
In any event, Akron is 1-1. The Zips beat Army 22-14 in Cleveland (in from of 17,000 at Browns Stadium) and lost to Ohio State 20-2 in Columbus. Akron's defensive performance has been more impressive than its offensive performance. Against Army, Akron's offense was fairly efficient (3.8 yards per rush, 5.3 per pass attempt) and the defense scored on an interception return. The Zips held Army to just 2.0 yards per carry and 242 yards of offense. Akron led 22-7 until Army scored a TD in the last minute to make the score appear more respectable than it was.
As for the Ohio State game: well, how often can a punter take credit for 100 percent of his team's scoring in a given game? Akron mounted a respectable 34 yard drive on its first possession after the Buckeyes went three and out. The Zips punted from the Buckeye 42 and downed the ball at the 2. They should have gone for it. Akron did not enter OSU territory again until recovering a punt at 6:13 in the fourth quarter. Nevertheless, Akron did force a safety and had a 2-0 lead until halfway through the second quarter. While OSU didn't score much, the offense was fairly efficient: 4.5 per rush, 5.4 per passing attempt, four punts.
Akron's offense was truly dreadful. The Zips managed only 69 yards of offense (including 3 yards rushing on 19 attempts) and punted 14 times. After two first downs on the first drive, the Zips didn't have another until late in the fourth quarter.
I'm not sure what to expect. IU seems to be favored by about 13. While IU won't physically overpower Akron the way Ohio State did, the usual mismatches provided by Lewis, Hardy, and Thigpen may well produce a more lopsided score.