Ohio State Week 4 Opponent: Akron Zips making 126-mile in-state trip to Columbus for matchup with #10 Buckeyes

September 22

Tom Arth Akron Football coach rebuilding program (megasportsnews.com photo)


Akron (1-2) at No. 10 Ohio State (2-1)
Saturday, Sept. 25
Ohio Stadium
Columbus, Ohio • 7:40 p.m.

Series History: Ohio State leads 7-1
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The University of Akron football team returns to the road this week traveling down I-71 for an in-state showdown with No. 10 Ohio State on Saturday, Sept. 25. The 7:40 p.m. tilt will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network with Brandon Gaudin and James Laurinaitis calling the action with a link on GoZips.com.

Ohio State:Ryan Day (New Hampshire, 2002), overall record: 25-3 (Fourth Season)/record at Ohio State: 25-3 (Fourth Season)
Akron: Tom Arth (John Carroll, 2003), overall record – 51-40 (Ninth Season)/record at Akron – 2-19 (Third Season)

Ohio State leads 7-1
Arth vs. Ohio State: First Meeting
Last Meeting: Ohio State def. Akron, 42-0, Sept. 3, 2011 (Columbus, Ohio)
Last Meeting at Columbus: Ohio State def. Akron, 42-0, Sept. 3, 2011 (Columbus, Ohio)

The game between the Zips and Buckeyes will mark the ninth encounter between the two schools. Ohio State leads the all-time series, 7-1, including a 42-0 triumph in the last meeting on Sept. 3, 2011.

Ohio State enters play against Akron following a 42-20 victory over Tulsa on Saturday, Sept. 18. A season ago, the Buckeyes posted a 7-1 ledger, including a 6-0 mark in the Big Ten Conference en route to reaching the College Football Playoff National Title Game.

Redshirt freshman QB C.J. Stroud has directed the Ohio State attack throwing for 963 yards, including eight touchdowns. Bolstered by a freshman record 277-yard performance against Tulsa, freshman RB TreVeyon Henderson owns a team-best 346 yards with four rushing touchdowns. Junior WR Garrett Wilson and senior WR Chris Olave have registered 267 and 243 yards, respectively, through the air en route to combining to score five of Ohio State’s eight receiving touchdowns.

Defensively, the duo of sophomore S Ronnie Hickman and senior LB Teradja Mitchell have combined to record 51 tackles, including posting 30 and 21 stops, respectively. Sophomore LB Cody Simon and senior DT Antwuan Jackson each own 2.0 tackles for a loss this season.

As a unit, Ohio State averages 38.0 points per game, while registering 538.3 yards per game, including rushing for 217.3 yards and throwing for 321.0 yards per tilt.

As a team, Ohio State is ranked third in the NCAA in defensive touchdowns (2), 10th in total offense (538.3), 14th in passing yards per completion (15.29), 16th in passing offense (321.0), 24th in first-down offense (73), 25th in net punting (42.50) and rushing offense (217.3), 26th in team passing efficiency (162.67), 33rd in third-down conversions (.471), 36th in scoring offense (38.0) and winning percentage (.667), 38th in fumbles recovered (2) and 46th in kickoff returns (22.00).

Individually, Stroud is ranked ninth in passing yards per contest (321.0), 10th in passing yards (963) and passing yards per completion (15.29), 13th in passing touchdowns (8), 14th in total offense (319.7), 21st in points responsible for per game (16.0), 24th in passing efficiency (162.7) and 28th in completions per tilt (21.0). Henderson is leading the NCAA in rushing yards per carry (9.11), while rating 10th in all-purpose yards (150.67), 12th in rushing yards (346), 15th in touchdowns (5), 22nd in total points scored (30), 23rd in scoring (10.0) and 27th in rushing touchdowns (4). Wilson ranks 16th in receiving touchdowns (3), 28th in receiving yards per game (89.0) and receptions per contest (6.3) and 32nd in receiving yards (267).

The University of Akron football team captured its first win of the 2021 season as redshirt sophomore QB DJ Irons (Lawrenceville, Ga.) led the way with 432 yards of total offense and four touchdowns en route to a 35-14 win over Bryant at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field on Saturday.

Akron generated 514 yards of total offense as Irons collected 296 passing yards and a team-high 136 yards rushing. Irons completed 19-of-23 passes with three touchdowns, highlighted by a 38-yard strike to sophomore WR Michael Mathison (Covington, Ga.) for the Zips’ initial score.

Irons posted a second-best 9.1 yards per carry average with a 24-yard long run and a 20-yard touchdown run. Redshirt freshman RB Anthony Williams, Jr. (Chicago, Ill.) registered a career-best 39 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. Freshmen WR’s Oran Singleton, Jr. (Clewiston ,Fla.) and Konata Mumpfield (Hoschton, Ga.) recorded touchdowns for the Zips.

Akron limited Bryant to just 146 yards of total offense, 117 yards passing and 29 yards rushing. Redshirt junior LB Bubba Arslanian (Aurora, Ohio) led the Zips with 12 total tackles, while redshirt junior LB Michael Scott (Tallahassee, Fla.) posted two of the Zips’ four total sacks. Redshirt sophomore LB Jeslord Boateng (Dublin, Ohio) posted a second-best eight total tackles with a sack and redshirt sophomore DL Logan Hawkins (Harrison, City, Pa.) issued a sack and a forced fumble that Scott recovered.

Akron scored on second possession of the game for a 7-0 advantage. Irons found Mathison for a 38-yard touchdown pass, completing a three-play, 55-yard drive that lasted 1:10.

The Zips opened the second quarter with another long passing play as Irons hit Singleton with a 24-yard touchdown pass to give Akron a 14-0 lead with 13:23 left before the break. The drive lasted six plays for 71 yards in 2:13.

Bryant used an 11-play 60-yard drive capped with a four-yard TD pass to cut Akron’s lead in half, 14-7 with 7:22 left to play.

At the end of the first half Akron led 14-7.

Akron drove down field to open third quarter, but fumbled in the redzone, on the three-yard line. Bryant capitalized on the Zips miscue as the Bulldogs tied the game 14-14 with 5:21 left in third quarter. Bryant used a 14-play, 83-yard drive lasting 6:27, capped by a one-yard touchdown run.

Akron responded with 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, starting with the first play, a 20-yard run by Irons as the Zips faced third and goal from the 20 yard line, 21-14.

Akron defense forced a three-and-out and put seven points on the scoreboard with an eight play, 60 yard scoring drive, highlighted by a six-yard pass from Irons to Mumpfield, 28-14.

The Akron defense came up big again as Hawkins recorded a 15-yard sack and forced a fumble. Scott recovered the ball and traveled nine yards to the Bryant 26-yard line.  

The Zips used four plays and 1:55 for the final touchdown of the game as Irons rushed for 12 yards and completed a 23-yard pass to Mumpfield to the Bryant 1-yard line. Williams carried the ball into the endzone for the score, 35-14.

LB Bubba Arslanian leads Akron’s defensive efforts this season registering team-high marks in tackles (37), solo stops (16) and assists (21). He has recorded eight, 17 and 12 tackles, respectively, versus Auburn, Temple and Bryant this season. He has led the Zips in tackles over the last nine games overall and in 12 of Akron’s last 14 contests dating back to the 2019 campaign.

Over the course of his decorated career he has recorded 124 solo tackles, including 16 this season, and 125 career assisted tackles. He is ranked 53rd among active career leaders across all divisions assisted tackles (125), 61st in total tackles (249) and 66th in total tackles per game (7.55).

He turned in a dominant season as one of the premier linebackers in both the Mid-American Conference as well as the NCAA in 2020, leading the defensive efforts for the Zips. He led the NCAA in solo tackles (7.8) and in total tackles (12.3).

In MAC play, Arslanian headlined the league in total tackles (74), solo tackles (47) and tackles per game (12.3), while ranking sixth in assisted tackles (27) and eighth in sacks (0.50).

Arslanian turned in a dominant performance to help lift the Zips to a 31-3 victory over Bowling Green on Dec. 5, 2020 with a 16-tackle effort. His 16 total tackles represented a season-high mark, while equaling a career-high total with 11 solo stops, to go along with five assists. His performance was recognized by @PFF_College, who rated Arslanian as grading out as the fourth-best linebacker in college football in Week 14.

Arslanian has had 10 or more total tackles in 16 of the last 21 games overall. Arslanian surpassed the 200-tackle plateau for his career against Buffalo on Dec. 12, 2020.

Akron QB DJ Irons was recognized by the Mid-American Conference as its MAC East Offensive Player of the Week, the league announced on Monday, Sept. 20.

Irons turned in a breakout game to lift the Zips to a 35-14 victory over Bryant on Saturday, Sept. 18. He finished the game accounting for 432 of Akron’s 514 total yards of offense, including career-high marks in passing (296) and rushing (136).

He was 19-of-23 passing for 296 yards with three touchdown passes, while also recording team-high marks in rushing with 136 yards on 15 carries, including a career-long run of 24 yards in the third quarter.

He helped engineer 21 unanswered points for the Zips in the fourth quarter, including a 20-yard touchdown run as well as throwing a six-yard one-handed touchdown reception by WR Konata Mumpfield. Earlier in the game he connected on 38- and 24-yard touchdown passes to WR Michael Mathison and WR Oran Singleton, Jr.

Irons is 44-of-58 passes for 534 yards and five touchdowns this season. He was perfect in debut as a Zip against Auburn, completing 13-of-13 passes for 129 yards with his first passing touchdown coming to freshman RB Jonzell Norrils (Toledo, Ohio) in the fourth quarter. He followed with a 19-of-23 effort for a career-high 296 yards versus Bryant.

Irons is rated second in the NCAA in completion percentage (.759), 12th in passing efficiency (178.2), 18th in yards per pass attempt (9.21), 34th in points responsible for (42) and points responsible per tilt (14.0) and 43rd in passing touchdowns (5).

• Akron’s 514 yards of total offense versus Bryant represented the Zips’ highest total since registering 626 against Savannah State on Sept. 19, 2015.
• Nine different Akron receivers pulled in a reception for the Zips against Bryant, the most for Akron since the same number recorded a catch at UMass on Sept. 28, 2019.
• LB Bubba Arslanian’s next tackle will stand as the 250th of his decorated career as a Zip.
• QB DJ Irons threw for a career-high 296 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for a career-best 136 yard rushing against Bryant en route to collecting 432 yards of total offense.
• QB DJ Irons is off to a solid start to his Akron career connecting on 44-of-58 passes for 534 yards and five touchdowns. He was perfect in debut as a Zip against Auburn, completing 13-of-13 passes for 129 yards with his first passing touchdown coming to Norrils in the fourth quarter. He followed with a 19-of-23 effort for a career-high 296 yards versus Bryant.
• Akron’s freshmen trio of WR Konata Mumpfield, TE Tristian Brank and WR Oran Singleton, Jr. recorded career-highs in receiving yards posting 69, 46 and 36 yards, respectively, against Bryant.
• RB Anthony Williams, Jr. recorded a career-best 39 yards rushing on nine carries before scoring a one-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter against Bryant for his first career touchdown at Akron.
•WR Michael Mathison leads the Zips in catches (18) and receiving yards (230) this season and has garnered 68, 101 and 61 yards, respectively, in Akron’s first three games this season.
• The Zips posted 14 tackles for a loss for 59 yards in a 35-14 victory over Bryant. ILB Jeslord Boateng led the way for Akron with three tackles for a loss, including a sack, while LB Michael Scott garnered a career-best two sacks for the Zips.
• LB Bubba Arslanian recorded a team-best 17 tackles against Temple and is rated third in the NCAA in total tackles (12.3) and 30th in solo tackles (5.3).
• ILB Jeslord Boateng ranks second on the team in total tackles (21), solo stops (11) and assists (10), while leading the Zips in tackles for a loss (3.0).
• Akron is 9-of-11 in the red zone this season, including seven touchdowns and a pair of field goals this season after going 12-for-14 a year ago with nine touchdowns.
• Akron is rated 12th in the NCAA in completion percentage (.714), 19th in time of possession (32:54), 22nd in fewest penalty per game (5.00), 23rd in fewest penalties (15), 30th in team passing efficiency (160.42), 36th in fewest penalty yards per contest (47.33) and 38th in fewest penalty yards (142).
• QB DJ Irons is rated second in the NCAA in completion percentage (.759), 12th in passing efficiency (178.2), 18th in yards per pass attempt (9.21), 34th in points responsible for (42) and points responsible per tilt (14.0) and 43rd in passing touchdowns (5), while WR Michael Mathison is ranked 30th in receptions per game (6.0), 31st in kickoff returns (20.0).
• WR Michael Mathison registered his first career 100-yard receiving day versus Temple pulling in career-high marks in catches (8) and yards (101).
• RB Jonzell Norrils posted career-best marks in rushing attempts (15) and yards (66) against Temple, a week after scoring his second-career touchdown and first of 2021 with a four-yard reception in the fourth quarter versus Auburn.
• Bubba Arslanian’s 17 tackles versus Auburn represent a single-game high in the NCAA this season.
• Five Zips made their first starting appearance against Auburn in 2021 season opener as ILB Jeslord Boateng, senior DL Zach Morton (Detroit, Mich.) and freshman S Ronald Jackson, Jr. (Detroit, Mich.) started on defense, additionally WR Konata Mumpfield and RB Jonzell Norrils received starts on offense.
• Junior CB Jalen Hooks (Warren, Ohio), junior CB Charles Amankwaa (Hillsborough, N.J.) and redshirt junior DL Angelo Howze (Fishers, Ind.) each registered a tackle for a loss against Temple.
• QB Kato Nelson is Akron’s active career leader in rushing attempts (356), pass attempts (790), pass completions (414), passing yards (5,282) and passing TD’s (35) and is responsible for 37 career offensive TD’s.
• Eight different Zips pulled in a reception for Akron against Auburn. WR Michael Mathison led the Zips with a career-high seven catches for 68 yards. Adding four, three, two, two and two receptions, respectively, was WR George Qualls, Jr. (Caruthersville, Mo.), WR Konata Mumpfield, RB Jonzell Norrils, RB Anthony Williams, Jr., and WR Oran Singleton, Jr.
• In his Akron debut as punter, redshirt sophomore Ethan Slike (Greensburg, Pa.) registered five punts for 250 yards, including a career-long of 60 yards. He followed with three punts for 154 yards and a 51.3 yard average against Temple.
• Akron didn’t commit a turnover in the Zips’ season opener at Auburn matching the feat a year ago in a 31-3 triumph past Bowling Green on Dec. 5, 2020.
• For the first time since battling Florida Atlantic on Dec. 19, 2017 at the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl, the Zips were involved in a game where neither team committed a turnover. The last Akron regular season contest in which this occurred happened on Sept. 28, 2013 at Bowling Green.
• Four of Akron’s 2021 opponents played in bowl a year ago:  Auburn, Ball State, Buffalo and Ohio State.
• Thirteen different Zips have pulled in a reception for Akron last season led by 17, 12, 12 and 11 catches, respectively, from Nate Stewart, WR George Qualls, Jr., freshman WR Tony Grimes, Jr. (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and WR Michael Mathison.

The University of Akron football added another Power 5 opponent in Tennessee to its future non-conference schedule on Tuesday when the Southeastern Conference unveiled its 2022 football schedule.

The Zips will visit Tennessee on Sept. 17, 2022, for a game at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.

Akron and Tennessee have met twice previously on the gridiron, with the Vols capturing home victories on Nov. 11, 1989 and Sept. 22, 2012.

The University of Akron football team will open Mid-American Conference play welcoming Ohio to InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field on Oct. 2. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.