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Week 7 (CMU) Thoughts

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There clearly is not a quarterback on the roster who can consistently move this offense in an efficient manner, at this time. There were numerous plays where the OL gave the QB more than enough time to throw the ball, just to see a poor decision made or an inaccurate pass come out. The OL certainly was not great, but the poor throws and bad decisions by the QB could not be placed on the OL. 


CMU was not going to let us beat them by running the ball with Bullock in the game and practically dared the offense to throw the ball.


After an Arth era like defensive showing last week, the defense bounced back in a big way and created 20 pressures on the QB (most this season). They also collected 2 interceptions.


Darrian Lewis may have been the best player on the field. Fish and McCoy also had big games.


Freshman Marcus Moore was a regular in the rotation at DT and played really well. He has huge upside.


Kicker Noah Perez drilled a 40 yard field goal. However, Dante Jackson did not have his best day punting the ball.


It’s a shame what could have been a breakout season for this program has turned into so many close losses. There are five games left to figure out who can help going into next year, while still trying to win a few games this year.


QB - Bullock (Undercuffler)

RB - Lingard (D. Anderson)

WR - George (C. Anderson)

WR - Gathings (Norton)

WR - Adams (Golden) (Walker)

TE - Banks (Newell)

LT - Chambers

LG - Frank (Kilbane)

C - T. Williams (Georges)

RG - K. Davis (Lyons)

RT - N. Williams


DE -Nunnally (L. Jackson)

DT - Jones (Robinson)

DT - Lavea (Moore)

DE - Adler (A. Smith) (L. Jackson)

LB - Fish (Cooper)

LB - McCoy (Cooper)

NB - Lewis (C.Thomas)

CB - Tallandier (Golden-Nelson)

S - KJ Martin (Thompson)

S - C. Thomas (Thompson)

CB - Durant (Hunter)

Edited by catdaddyp
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This week's advanced box score: https://collegefootballdata.com/boxscore/401532420


How about that, Akron scored every time they got inside the 40! But they only did twice. 


So if we look at the early portion of the game, we see that Akron's defense forced a long field goal, which was missed. Then Akron went 3&out, Then Golden-Nelson picked Bauer and took it into plus territory, followed by a short drive and made field goal (praise the Lord!). Then ANOTHER pick, this one was huge, as CMU was driving. After that pick Bullock ran 27 yards to get into plus territory again. Two plays later, that awful, horrible, unbelievable, etc. etc. interception. After that, the teams exchanged punts for the entire quarter until CMU nailed that long FG. Akron's defense gave them so many opportunities in that first half to bust things wide open. Even if it had been just 10-14 points mustered by the offense in the first half, the D could have ridden that tide to ultimately bring us a win. Things weren't necessarily looking promising before that pick, but they sure as hell took a further turn for the worst after.


At this point, it's safe to say that the QB and OL are what is holding this team back. Sure, there are things like penalties still and plenty of blown coverages, untimely special teams gaffs, but as a whole, the team looks to be where it probably should right now. Only, the lifeblood of the offense is a mess. My heart hurts to think of what this team would look like if we had even just a QB playing at the level of DJI in 2022, which was usually nothing more than "decent."


This season has become some kind of sick joke. It's almost as if a deceptive genie granted all of our wishes.


Zips fans from 2018-2022: "Genie, all we ask for is a competitive team!"


Genie: "Here you go! They will play nearly every opponent close, and even hold the lead for a decent amount of time, but they will never win!"


Zips fans: "Genie, we just want a decent QB this year, DJ Irons is going to be back, right?"


Genie: "Yes, DJ will be back! Only he won't be the QB he was last year, and he's going to get hurt at the start of MAC play!"


Zips fans: "Genie, all we want is a coaching staff that can bring in the recruits we need to win!"


Genie: "Can do! Here's the best receiving corps in over a decade, a top 3 running back talent of the century, some nice OL prospects, a P5 QB transfer, and a defensive unit that features some great transfers and even LBs that can make up for the loss of Bubba!"


This is the most frustrating season I've experienced as a Zips fan in so long. It's usually blind optimism only to be disappointed and not surprised. Well, this season has been pretty shocking. We are every bit as capable as most teams in this league, but can never put together a 60-minute game on both sides of the ball. We can't even finish more than one drive, maybe two, per game on offense. I said before the year that we've got expectations now and it was horrifying, because we know how that goes at Akron. Well, here we are. There's such a solid foundation to this team, especially with a defense that's been answering the bell week after week, dealing with 3&out after 3&out from their offensive teammates. 


A funny thing I noticed while digesting the game the last 36 hours:


DJI first drive of the season: Long TD on 2nd play


JU first drive of the season: 5-play, 67-yard TD drive


Bullock first drive of first start: 12-play, 65-yard TD


JU first drive of relief at CMU: 8-play, 70-yard TD


What does that mean? I don't really know. I would say it points to having some really good skill players and potential, but the QB play and line play simply isn't good enough to adjust to the defense's adjustments.


Lingard has run for an average of 4.5 yards per carry during MAC play. In those 3 MAC games, he has touched the ball 41 times between runs and passes caught. In the MAC, teams have been relying on their running backs for years. It's usually a guarantee that when your RB is the most talented-or close to it-player on your offense, you're going to do everything in your power to get them the ball and put them in position to make plays. Whenever he gets the ball in space, he runs away from the secondary, leaving some of the fastest players on opposing rosters in the dust. Even when he doesn't have a lot of space, he falls forward and finds any space he can to gain yardage.


Of all the failures of 2023, the most egregious is the usage of Lorenzo Lingard. 


I get it. Coaches are stubborn. Coaches have tremendous egos. They're often drunk on their own power. But rarely, and I mean RARELY, have I ever seen a player of Lingard's ability in this league not get used. Even the 2017 Ball State Cardinals, who had a worse MAC season than any Arth/Bowden/Ianello team ever did, had a stud running back and gave him the ball because it was their best chance to be successful. He ran for 1,000 yards on almost 5 yards a pop. Akron hasn't had a 1,000 yard rusher in 15 years. What they have done through 7 games with Lingard has been upsetting and incredibly disappointing. 


Between Moorhead, Arth, Bowden, and Ianello, Moorhead has still done more winning than those guys did through 19 games. In 2013, Akron finished 5-7, its best record since 2006. They started that season 1-6. Their run to 5-7 and a .500 MAC record kind of came out of nowhere. Even with a couple of beatable teams coming up for this 2023 team, I just don't have the belief that they will actually win. It sucks. This season has sucked. Every game has been so frustrating. It felt like we were about to break through against Indiana, only to be punched back down. I always enjoy going over to BG for basketball and football games. But I'm probably going to pass on making that trip. Maybe I'll change my mind later in the week. 


Finish...? It hardly even feels like this team has started...


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