October 26, 2012

5 Keys: CMU vs. Akron

Another week, and another disappointing performance by the Central Michigan football team at their home field. What was supposed to be a reprieve from the road has turned into a nightmare as the Chippewas have dropped their first two home games in a four game home stand. While losses to Navy and Ball State at least explainable due to them being competitive teams, CMU will not have that excuse this week with a 1-7 Akron squad coming to Kelly/Shorts. This is expected to be a win, and if it becomes a loss, this program will have officially made its fall to the bottom of the MAC. With that in mind, we take a look at the Five Keys for this weekend's game.

1) Jump On Them Early

The last thing you want to do against an inferior team is let them hang in the game with you by making mistakes and going three and out on offense. Akron has been outscored 64-45 in the first quarter this season, so they haven't exactly folded up every game, but have proven they can get behind quick. A fast start for CMU will open up the playbook and take pressure off a struggling defense. Allow Akron to hang around, and CMU could be in a battle as undefeated Ohio found out a few weeks ago when they survived 34-28.

2) Contain Jawan Chisholm

Akron has averaged 29.8 points per game this season, and when they have scored it is because they were able to stay balanced. Chisholm is a sophomore who has averaged 5.5 YPC this season and is No. 10 in the MAC in rushing with 688 yards. By now CMU fans are well aware of their defense's inadequacies against the run, and making sure Chisholm doesn't run wild will be very high on their priority list.

3) Try To Keep It From Becoming The OK Corral

If there is one thing both Akron and CMU have remarkably in common, it's their inability to prevent opposing teams from marching into the colored areas at the end of the field. Akron is No. 10 in the MAC in scoring defense (37.6 PPG) and CMU is No. 11 (39.4 PPG). They also rank near the bottom of the MAC in: Total Defense, Interceptions, Sacks and Red Zone Defense. In essence, these are two pretty bad defenses who have had a lot of points scored on them. This game has high shootout potential, and if it were not for both quarterbacks propensity to turn the ball over, it might be a given. CMU would be wise to avoid a shootout, and they can do that by controlling the time of possession with their running game, and limiting the big plays for Akron on defense.

4) Run Left, Run Middle, Run Right

The game may come down to CMU's ability to consistently run the football. While their inconsistent run game is a definite by-product of them always being in come from behind mode, they have proven they can move the ball on the ground against very good defenses (See: Iowa, Michigan State). RB Zurlon Tipton has averaged 6.3 YPC during the year and he is coming off a 17 carry, 126 yard effort vs. Ball State. As a team they are averaging 4.2 YPC, and it definitely helps that Akron is allowing 226 yards per game on the ground, the worst CMU has faced all season.

5)Rise To The Occasion

There are plenty of whispers around Mount Pleasant about the demise of the Chippewas football program. This game will go a long way towards quieting them, and if there is ever a chance to right the ship it begins against Akron. The 2012 schedule was very front loaded, and the remaining five opponents for CMU are a combined 8-29 overall, with not a single team sitting above .500. A 1-7 Akron team whose sole victory is over FCS Morgan State is clearly a team CMU is expected to defeat, and it will be up to seniors such as WR Cody Wilson, OT Eric Fisher and S Jahleel Addae to step up and get the team back to winning.

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