Football begins conference play

By Zane Miller and By Zane Miller

The Falcons football team will begin their Mid-American Conference play at home against the Akron Zips on Saturday night, as the team looks to find their first win this season against the same opponent that they got their first MAC win of last season against.

Akron comes into this game with a 1-3 overall record, however, like the Falcons, Akron has played only non-conference teams to this point in the season.

“They’re skilled,” Falcons head coach Mike Jinks said. “There will be a lot of speed all over the football field, so we’re going to have to be sure that we can match their physicality, we’re going to have to be sure that we’re good tacklers and the kid transferring from Ohio State (Warren Ball), he’s kind of a downhill guy, but the positive thing about that is that we’ve played a couple of backs like that already this year, so it shouldn’t just be a physical shock to them. From there, we’re going to have to make plays on the outside.”

Despite a difficult beginning to the season that has the team still looking for their first win of the season, the team feels that they still have the opportunity to get the job done going forward.

“We’ve got a brand new start,” Jinks said. “Every goal that we set prior to the season is still out there to be achieved, you still have an opportunity to win the (MAC) East, you still have the opportunity to win the MAC Championship, you still have the opportunity to go to a bowl game. So we’ve got a lot of those key games at home, Ohio, Northern Illinois, Toledo, if we take care of the Doyt, we’ve got a shot.”

The team defeated Akron late last season 38-28, ending Akron’s chances for a winning record in the MAC as well as a potential bowl game appearance. The Falcons are expecting Akron to have that game in the back of their minds throughout the game this weekend.

“They’ve probably got a little chip on their shoulder,” Jinks said. “Going into their place last year, they had five wins, probably the chance to secure a bowl game and we were able to come away with the victory, so they’ll come in fired up and ready to play, we’ll have to match their intensity and come out and play a physical ball game.”

The team is also looking to improve in the running game, which only gained one yard in their last game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. The team feels that the best way to do that is to continue to build on the offensive line.

“It’s just consistency,” Jinks said. “We know that there’s a lack of quality depth right now at that position, we’ve got some bodies that still need to be developed at the offensive line, so we want competition and if we had a freshman that I felt like could come out and compete, he would be playing. Right now, our best five or six are playing.”