Nov. 13, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio football team (7-3, 5-1 MAC) will attempt to clinch its first-ever MAC East Division championship when it hosts the Akron Zips on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
A victory in either of their last two games would secure the Bobcats' first MAC title of any kind since 1968 and set up a contest against West Division champion Central Michigan in the MAC title game on Nov. 30.
Ohio is currently on a five-game winning streak, the program's longest since a six-game run in 1997.
Thursday's contest with the Zips marks the final home game for 19 Ohio seniors --Tom Christy, Matt Coppage, Austen Everson, David Escobar, Michael Graham, J.J. Knabb, Matt Lasher, Corey Logan, Ahmona Maxwell, Scott Mayle, Matt Muncy, William Norwood, Voncarie Owens, Marcquis Parham, Justin Riley, Tyler Russ, Rudy Sylvan, T.J. Wright and Shane Yates.
The Ohio defense has kept opponents to 20 points or less in each of the last five games. It is the longest streak for the Bobcats since the 1997 squad. A sixth consecutive game of allowing fewer than 21 points would mark the longest run for Ohio since the 1976 team went seven straight outings limiting teams to 20-or-fewer points.
The Bobcat ground game has come to life during the team's winning streak. Ohio has run for at least 200 yards in four of the last five games, including a season-high 278 yards in its last game at Eastern Michigan. The Bobcats are 7-0 under Frank Solich when reaching the 200-yard mark on the ground. Junior running back Kalvin McRae has done most of the damage with a school-record five straight 100-yard games. He has accounted for 581 of the Bobcats' 1,091 yards (53.3 percent) and eight of their 12 rushing touchdowns in that span.
Akron, the defending Mid-American Conference champion, enters Thursday's game with a 5-5 overall record and a 3-3 mark in the MAC. The Zips are still alive in the MAC East Division race. Akron and Bowling Green currently sit two games behind the Bobcats and one game behind Kent State. The Zips need to win their last two games (Ohio and Western Michigan) and have both Ohio and Kent State lose their final two contests. They hold the tiebreaker with BGSU by virtue of their 35-28 win against the Falcons on Nov. 4.
Akron is coming off a 31-16 home win against Buffalo on Nov. 9. The Zips are 1-5 on the road this season with their victory coming at N.C. State. on Sept. 9.
Offensively, Luke Getsy is the trigger man for the nation's 27th-best passing offense at 236.1 yards per game. Getsy has completed 53.6 percent of his passes (165-for-308) for 2,303 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has thrown just eight interceptions on the season. Dennis Kennedy leads the ground game, accounting for 84 percent of the Zips' rushing yards. He has run for 858 of Akron's 1,022 yards in 2006. David Harvey has been the team's top wideout as a freshman. Harvey is second in the MAC and 13th in the nation with 87.4 receiving yards per game (874 total).
Defensively, Akron ranks fifth in the MAC, allowing 328.5 yards per game. Kevin Grant leads the team with 76 tackles. John Mackey is right benind with 71 stops. Brion Stokes paces the Zips with 12.0 tackles for loss, including a team-high 5.5 sacks. Reggie Corner has three of Akron's six interceptions on the season, while Davanzo Tate has broken up 11 passes. As a unit, the Zips are allowing 23.7 points per game.
The Zips lead the all-time series with the Bobcats, 11-10-1. Akron has won three straight against the Bobcats, including a 27-3 decision last season at the Rubber Bowl. Ohio is 4-2 against Akron in its last six meetings at Peden Stadium. The Zips won their last trip to Athens, 31-19, in 2004.
Thursday's game is sponsored by WNTO, Sunny 93 FM. It is also Ohio faculty and staff appreciation day. All Ohio University faculty and staff are entitled to two free tickets to the game. A fireworks show will be part of the haltime festivities.
Ohio student-athletes will be collecting food donations. All donations will benefit the Salvation Army which serves Athens County and the surrounding area. The items most needed include canned soups, fruits and vegetables, tuna fish, salmon, other canned meats, peanut butter, baby food and formula, and boxed meals/dinners.
For ticket information, call the Ohio Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-575-CATS.