Akron vs Kent State: Kent State defense is fine on third downs, but that’s about it. It can’t move the ball, and there’s no passing game to keep up if the Zips score early. Akron will be in turnover margin, it’ll convert on the mistakes, and the defense hold time and again on the way to the MAC title game.
Event: College Football
Team: Akron vs Kent State
Date: Saturday, October 20, 2018
Game Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
But Kent State is overdue for something positive in a lost season. Outside of a win over Miami University, it’s been a nightmare of a time in blowout loss after blowout loss. The Golden Flashes have lost four straight, and with all nine losses by double-digits. But screwing up the Zips would make the year.
So how is this happening? What is Akron doing right? It’s converting more third down plays than anyone in the MAC, it’s not turning the ball over, and it’s able to come up with just enough late stops to survive. Kent State’s defense is fine on third downs, but that’s about it. It can’t move the ball, and there’s no passing game to keep up if the Zips score early.
And in truth, every team runs into one or two of these games a year. One where areas of strength turn into weaknesses on a given afternoon, or where a slew of turnovers doom the chances of pulling off a win. The Bobcats have seen plenty of examples. Take the home loss to CMU last year. Or the road loss late last year at Akron.
Turnovers wiping out scoring chances, or setting up the opposition. A big play yielded to gift the opposition a touchdown. A late-game drive to salvage the day, but it’s wiped out. Only this time, the Bobcats finished it. Backed into a corner after an early 14-0 deficit, Ohio played nearly flawlessly — big picture wise — over the final quarter and a half to save a 27-26 win at Kent State.
Ohio didn’t have a plethora of big offensive plays, but instead turned a paltry 58 offensive snaps into six red-zone possessions. And after three straight turnovers in the red zone — a crusher for any team in any conference usually — the Bobcats executed three touchdown drives on its last three possessions to save the day. And the defense, much maligned for most of 2018, held the Flashes to three straight field goals on similar scoring chances in the second half.