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The Kent State Golden Flashes and the Akron Zips will both be looking for their first Mid-American Conference win of the season when they play this Saturday afternoon from Dix Stadium in Kent, OH. The Golden Flashes enter this contest following a 31-6 defeat at the hands of the Miami (OH) RedHawks last week. Akron is also entering this game following a loss as the Zips lost 24-6 against, arguably the best team in the MAC this season, the Buffalo Bulls.
Akron’s Offense Struggles Against Buffalo
The Akron Zips have started out league play at 0-2 as they will look to avoid a brutal o-3 start when they take on a Kent State squad that has struggled this season to say the least. Akron enters this game on three straight losing streak with the most recent one coming against 6-1 Buffalo. However, despite losing to the Bulls, the Zips did look extremely solid on the defensive side of the ball as they forced Buffalo to throw an interception and to score just 24 points at home. Akron’s defense is currently allowing 26.4 points per game but it appears that this unit has improved over the course of the team’s first five games. With Kent State’s pedestrian offense on deck, look for the Zips to look even better on defense this Saturday.
— UB Football (@UBFootball) October 13, 2018
Akron’s offense is led by sophomore quarterback Kato Nelson. Nelson has been extremely inconsistent this season and currently has seven passing touchdowns with six interceptions. However, when he is on his game, he has the ability to put up points in bunches which he showed against Northwestern a few weeks ago. Nelson also has had at least 30 yards rushing in every game this season. With Kent State’s inferior athletes on the defensive side of the ball, one has to wonder if they can limit Nelson’s dual-threat ability.
Akron currently averages 23.2 points per game which ranks 112th in the nation. The Zips are also averaging 197.0 passing yards per game and 111.4 rushing yards per game which ranks 103rd and 118th in the nation respectively. However, their schedule thus far has been extremely difficult so one would expect those offensive numbers to improve once the team plays against easier competition.
Kent State Continues Losing Ways
The Kent State Golden Flashes have been awful so far this season. Last week’s 31-6 loss to Miami pushed the team’s record to an abysmal 1-6. However, losing has become a stable trend at Kent State as the team has struggled finding success in the MAC over the last few seasons. Kent State has not won more than three games in a season since 2013 and it appears that this year’s team will be unable to change that.
One bright spot this season for Kent State is its offense. The team’s offense has actually been decent this season despite the team’s record. The Golden Flashes currently average 23.0 points per game but rank inside the top 80 in both passing yards per game and rushing yards per game. Led by sophomore quarterback Woody Barnett, this team has the ability to score more easily than in previous season. So far this season, Barnett has thrown for seven touchdowns along with eight interceptions. However, Barnett also has four rushing touchdowns and 297 yards rushing. If Barnett can get going, watch out for a potential shootout here in Dix Stadium.
— Kent State Football (@KentStFootball) October 13, 2018
The huge flaw with Kent State’s team this season is on the defensive end. The team is currently allowing 36.6 points per game which ranks 113th in the nation. The Golden Flashes are also allowing the third-most total yards per game to opponents which could once again be a serious problem this Saturday.
- Golden Flashes are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 conference games.
- Golden Flashes are 16-35 ATS in their last 51 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
- Zips are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite of 3.5-10.0.
- Zips are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Golden Flashes, in my opinion, are one of the worst teams in college football. Although Akron has yet to win a conference game, the Zips had to face Buffalo and Miami (OH) who have a combined conference record of 6-1. Akron has more weapons on offense than Kent State and Akron also has a significantly better defense than Kent State. Akron has also won the last two head-to-head meetings and I expect the team to win by at least a touchdown.
Prediction: Akron -4
Full-Game Total Pick
Although both defenses have struggled this season, these head-to-head matchups have tended to be somewhat low scoring. I do think that Akron’s defense is better than the stats indicate and I think that the Zips will do a decent job limiting Barnett in the passing game. I also expect Kent State to play with a bit more intensity on the defensive end at home so the under should be a solid play.
Prediction: Under 55