Akron Zips

MAC Championship Preview: Toledo vs Akron

The Mid-American Conference Championship takes place on Saturday afternoon in Detroit, Michigan as the Toledo Rockets (10-2) take on the Akron Zips (7-5).

The two teams met up earlier this season on October 21st with the Rockets dominating the Zips in a 48-21 blowout.

Now the two teams are facing off once again with a conference championship on the line. Toledo won the West division with a 7-1 record while Akron won the East division with a 6-2 record.

No one expects this to be a close game with Toledo a heavy 21 point favorite coming into Saturday’s showdown but Akron has been on a roll since the loss a month and a half ago winning three out of four and their defense giving up 20.5 points per game after giving up 48 to Toledo.

This is a very tough Toledo offense though led by quarterback Logan Woodside who has thrown for over 3,400 yards, 24 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

Their running attack has rushed for 2,580 yards and 30 touchdowns led by Terry Swanson with 1,139 yards and 12 touchdowns and Shakif Seymour with 665 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Diontae Johnson is the go to target in the passing game with 63 catches for 1,139 yards and 11 touchdowns all of which were second in the receiving categories in the MAC behind Buffalo’s Anthony Johnson.

It’s a dominant offense that averages 38.5 points per game and ranks 9th in all of college football with 506 offensive yards per game.

On the Zips offensive side, it’s been led by redshirt freshman Kato Nelson the last several games after senior Tommy Woodson was suspended and essentially benched after violating team rules.

Nelson has completed 48.9% for 609 yards, six touchdowns and an interception in the last three games. His most impressive start came in a 37-34 shootout win against Ohio when he threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns.

With no real threat on offense, Nelson is going to have to have another game like that one in order for Akron to have any chance to win.

When looking at potential NFL prospects in this game, there’s a couple that stick out to me.

Ulysees Gilbert III, LB, Akron

The junior linebacker has put together two impressive seasons with the Zips after former Zip and now current Los Angeles Charger linebacker Jatavis Brown left to go pro.

Last season, Gilbert had 121 total tackles (11.5 for a loss), four sacks and three forced fumbles. This season he’s backed it up with another strong season with 117 total tackles (8.5 for a loss). four sacks and two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown).

He’s not expected to come out after this season but NFLDraftScout.com has him ranked as the 10th outside linebacker for the 2019 Draft class. He’s got the measurables as well as the production to back it up that I think NFL teams will be watching closely.

Logan Woodside, QB, Toledo

Everyone knows in Northeast Ohio, we love football and we especially love the quarterback position because the Browns have been coveting one since the Bernie Kosar days.

Not saying Woodside is the potential savior for the Browns in the future but he’s certainly a quarterback to watch during the draft process coming up this offseason.

The fifth year senior has had some eye raising seasons with the Rockets the last two seasons throwing for a combined 7,580 yards, 69 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

He’s an accurate thrower with a career percentage of 65.5% and I’ll be watching closely at the arm strength to see if he’s got what it takes to be an NFL quarterback. NFL teams have been scouting him throughout the season including the Eagles, Bears and Buccaneers according to reports.

Prediction

Toledo 41 Akron 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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