Blue White Illustrated

Akron Pregame

Penn State Sports Magazine

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P R E G A M E R E P O R T A K R O N @ P E N N S T A T E T I M E N O O N , S E P T . 2 | T V A B C AKRON FACTS COACH Terry Bowden (West Vir- ginia, '78) COACH'S RECORD 24-37 in five seasons; career record: 164-99-2 in 23 seasons as a head coach 2016 RECORD 5-7 (3-5 Mid- American Conference) RECORD VS. PSU Akron has lost all five of its games vs. the Nit- tany Lions. MOST RECENT MEETING Chris- tian Hackenberg threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns as Penn State defeated visiting Akron, 21-3, on Sept. 6, 2014. It was James Franklin's first home game as the Nittany Lions' head coach. GOOD NEWS The Zips' offense should get a lift from the return of two injured players. Senior quarterback Thomas Woodson is back after playing in only eight games last year due to a shoulder injury, while senior running back Warren Ball, an Ohio State transfer, will be in the backfield, having recov- ered from an injury in week two last season. BAD NEWS Even with Woodson and Ball ex- pected back, Akron was picked to finish fourth in the MAC East Divi- sion in a preseason poll of confer- ence coaches and media members. DID YOU KNOW? Woodson is a native of Mon- roeville, Pa., and played his high school football at Gateway, where he was a three-year varsity starter. His head coach with the Gators? Current Penn State cor- nerbacks coach Terry Smith. M A T T   H E R B | M A T T @ B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M Somebody you're not expecting to lose is going to get upset this weekend, and Akron coach Terry Bowden sees no reason why it can't be Penn State. OK, truth be told, Bowden does see a couple of reasons why that could be a big ask, and their names are Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley. But all 14 Big Ten teams will be in action on the opening weekend of the college football season, and four of them will be facing opponents from the Mid- American Conference. By Bowden's reckoning, that's a big enough risk pool for the actuarial tables to come into play and deliver the MAC a surprise victory. It's not a question of if, the Zips' sixth-year coach said Monday. It's a question of who. "Somebody in the Big Ten is going to lose to somebody in the MAC on Saturday," he predicted. "It might not be Penn State, but every year some- body does. Last year, Northwestern and Illinois did. There will be some teams who upset teams that they're not supposed to beat. That's what makes it exciting. It's not hard to get your team motivated because it's such a big opportunity for those guys." 1 CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM The Lions are favored but have reason to be wary of their MAC foe A U G U S T   3 0 ,   2 0 1 7 B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M Franklin talks with Akron defensive co- ordinator Chuck Amato prior to Penn State's game against the Zips in 2014. The Nittany Lions won, 21-3, in Franklin's first home game as Penn State's head coach. Photo by Steve Manuel

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