Akron Zips: What needs to be done to beat Ball State?
The Akron Zips are coming off of a victory against Bowling Green. The next test will be a home matchup against Ball State. Both teams go into Saturday’s contest with a record of 2-3, respectively. It’s a pivotal game for both teams, as they look to go .500 on the year.
What does Akron need to do in order to win against the Cardinals?
1. Pressure QB Jack Milas
Like last week against Bowling Green, the Zips face a team with a similar uncertainty at QB. With starter Riley Neal out with injury, Milas has been filling in. The Graduate Senior has yet to throw a TD pass. To make matters worse, his top offensive lineman, Vinnie Palezeti, is coming off of an ACL injury that saw him sit the last two games. It’s unlikely he’ll be playing at 100 percent. The key for the Zips is getting Milas uncomfortable. If they do that the Cardinals are limited on offense.
2. How will the Zips respond without Guiser or Ball?
The Akron Zips suffered devastating news this week when team captains Warren Ball and Zach Guiser were officially ruled out for the season. On the offensive side of the ball, Van Edwards Jr. picked up the slack by rushing for 70 yards and a TD against Bowling Green. He’ll continue to see work as the Zips top running back. Guiser will be harder to replace. The Senior was one of the MAC’s best defensive backs.
3. Contain Justin Hall
Ball State will be without Junior RB standout, James Gilbert, so the offense will rely heavily on Freshman WR Justin Hall. Regardless if Akron is able to contain Milas, Hall still remains a threat. The Freshman has recorded 80+ receiving yards in his last 4 games, leading the entire Nation in receiving yards by a first-year player. The Zips have had trouble against top wide receivers in the past, and Hall could prove to be a real problem for Akron.
The real test for Akron is going to be playing without Warren Ball. He’s a difference maker on offense, and without him the team takes on a different identity. The Zips are going to need to jump all over Ball State. Both teams are evenly matched, and a win would do wonders for their standing in the MAC.