Last year, IU traveled to northeast Ohio, and in the first marquee game in Akron's new stadium, the Hoosiers intercepted four passes and Ray Fisher returned a kick for a touchdown, and the Hoosiers won 38-21. This year, the Zips travel to Bloomington for the third game between the schools in the last four seasons. It's been a long downhill slide for Akron since the Zips qualified for their first and only bowl game in 2005. After a tumultuous 2009 season in which Akron finished 3-9, coach JD Brookhart was fired. His replacement is Rob Ianello, most recently Notre Dame's assistant head coach for offense. Veteran quarterback Chris Jacquemain was removed from the team shortly before the IU game.
While that loss crippled the Zips in 2009, it does mean that the Zips return two experienced quarterbacks: Matt Rodgers, who started (and threw 4 INTs) against IU, and then-freshman Patrick Nicely, who won the starting job during the second half of Akron's season. Indicative of their horrendous offense (#113 of 120 in total offense in FBS), the Zips didn't have anyone rush for more than 244 yards last season, but they did have seven players run for at least 100 yards. Still, five of their top six rushers, all of them except leading rusher Joe Tuzze (he of the 244 yards), are back. That's quantity, but again, none of the returning runners broke the 200 yard mark for the season. Jeremy LaFrance, who caught 43 balls for 520 yards and two touchdowns, is the only returning receiver of note.
The Zips are under new leadership and probably are in for a long season. IU's non-conference schedule provides no excuse for anything less than 3-0 when the Hoosiers open Big Ten play against Michigan. In 2008, Akron finally won a game against a BCS conference opponent, upsetting Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. [EDIT: Actually, as the comments note, Akron beat NC State in 2006. Let's hope that IU isn't the