All four of UCF’s losses
have come on the road this season while Akron is 3-1 in the Rubber Bowl in 2003.
The Zips topped Eastern Michigan (24-17), Howard (65-7) and Cal-Poly (45-14) at
home while losing a MAC contest to Kent State (41-38) in the Rubber Bowl.
Live coverage on the UCF ISP Sports Network begins at 4 p.m. with the pregame
UCF and Akron are meeting for the sixth time Saturday with the Zips holding a
3-2 series lead. UCF has played Akron more times than any other MAC opponent.
The two teams first played in 1984, with Akron winning 26-21 in Orlando.
The Golden Knights have won two straight in the series by a combined score of
85-34. Last year, UCF won 28-17 over the Zips at the Florida Citrus Bowl. The
last time the two teams played at the Rubber Bowl, UCF lost 35-24 to the Zips.
In that contest, UCF quarterback Vic Penn threw for 306 yards, but tossed four
interceptions in the loss. The Zips rolled up 507 yards of total offense,
including 284 on the ground. Both Brandon Payne (138) and Jimmie Gray (111)
rushed for over 100 yards in the 11-point victory.
UCF has never won at Akron, losing 20-17 in 1986 and 35-24 in 2000. The Golden
Knights did set a school record with 50 first-half points vs. the Zips in a
57-17 win in 2001. In the 2001 win, then freshman tailback Alex Haynes carried
the ball 14 times for 112 yards and three touchdowns. Haynes averaged 8.0 yards
per carry in the 2001 win and is averaging 6.3 yards per carry over his career
All Good Things Come To An End
After scoring in 209 consecutive games, UCF was held scoreless in last week’s
28-0 loss at Ohio. The last time UCF was shutout prior to the Ohio game was Nov.
3, 1984 when Indiana State won 38-0.
Current head coach Mike Kruczek was with the Jacksonville franchise in the USFL
as quarterbacks coach in 1984 the last time UCF was shutout before last week.
Jerry Anderson was head coach of the Knights in the 1984 shutout to Indiana
State while current Akron head coach Lee Owens was the head coach/athletic
director at Galion High School.
Over the 209-game streak, UCF scored 6,226 total points and averaged 29.8 points
per game. Only 12 times over the 209 game streak did UCF fail to score at least
10 points in a game. The lowest point total over the streak was six, which
occurred seven times.
Scoring Down In 2003
UCF is averaging just 18.3 points per game, the lowest average under Mike
Kruczek since he began coaching at UCF in 1985 as offensive
During his tenure as head coach, UCF averaged 30.8 points per game coming in to
the 2003 season. Over 62 games as head coach at UCF, the Golden Knights have
scored 29.6 points per game with Kruczek.
Over Kruczek’s 62-game career as head coach at UCF, the Knights have scored over
40 points 13 times including three games with over 50 points and two 60-point
games. The most points UCF has scored during the Kruczek head coaching era came
in his first career game as head coach, a 64-30 victory at Louisiana Tech in
Trying To Reach 20
For the first time since 1996, UCF’s first season as a member of Division I-A
football, the Golden Knights have failed to score 20 points in four consecutive
games. The last time UCF went over the 20-point barrier was its season-high
33-point contest vs. Florida Atlantic. UCF scored just 14 points at Syracuse, 16
at Kent State, 19 vs. Buffalo and none vs. Ohio.
Running Game Key In Buffalo Win
UCF totaled 298 rushing yards in its 19-10 victory over Buffalo. The 298 yards
rushing were the most in a home game for UCF during Mike Kruczek’s six-year
tenure as head coach.
The Golden Knights totaled 55 rushes for 298 yards, an average of 5.4 yards per
carry. Three players rushed for over 40 yards, including Alex Haynes (165), Jon Rivera (89) and Dee Brown (43). It marked the first time all season UCF had
three players rush for over 40 yards.
Running Into The Record Books
For the first time under head coach Mike Kruczek, UCF rushed for over 200 yards
in a half vs. Buffalo. The 201 rushing yards in the first half also marked just
the fifth game during the Kruczek era that UCF totaled over 200 rushing yards as
The Golden Knights totaled a Citrus Bowl record under Kruczek of 298 rushing
Most Rushing Yards Under Kruczek
Date Opponent Yards
11/13/99 at Middle Tenn. St. 323
10/4/03 Buffalo 298
11/16/02 Kent State 246
10/31/98 Youngstown State 228
10/13/01 Liberty 216
UCF Fails To Reach 100 Yards Passing
UCF passed for just 59 team yards vs. Buffalo, marking the first time under
Kruczek that UCF failed to throw for 100 yards.
It also marked just the third time in 61 games during the Kruczek era that UCF
failed to reach 200 yards passing. In last week’s 28-0 loss at Ohio, UCF passed
for 104 team yards.
Least Passing Yards Under Kruczek
Date Opponent Yards
10/4/03 Buffalo 59
10/11/03 at Ohio 104
9/7/02 at Arizona State 157
11/7/98 at Auburn 182
10/16/99 Nicholls State 204
9/29/01 at Virginia Tech 227
Young Defenders Step It Up
Several of UCF’s younger defensive players performed well at Ohio Saturday.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Tywin Kalandyk recorded career-highs in tackles (9)
and tackles for loss (2, -5 yards) in his most extensive time at linebacker
since coming to UCF. Kalandyk has moved into the second string at outside
linebacker, behind Antoine Poe.
Sophomore defensive tackle Frisner Nelson also had a career day, finishing with
personal bests in tackles (5) and tackles for loss (3, -8 yards). Nelson has
started every game this season at defensive tackle.
Joining Nelson on the defensive line was sophomore Paul Carrington, who totaled
a career-high six tackles vs. the Bobcats.
In this week’s two-deep roster, the Golden Knights have just five seniors listed
on offense and defense.
Youth Is Served
With Ryan Schneider and his 34 career starts out of the lineup at Ohio, UCF had
just four senior starters vs. the Bobcats.
On offense, linemen Kyle Watkins and David Ashkinaz both started their 15th and
18th career starts respectively. Both players were junior college transfers to
the UCF program.
On defense, defensive tackle Larry Brown and defensive end Brent Bolar were the
only two senior starters. Brown has 16 career starts to his credit while Bolar
has started just five games over his four-year career.
Prater Punts His Way Into History
Entering the season, there were plenty of questions on who would replace all-MAC
punter Ryan Flinn. The Golden Knights went to the junior college ranks to bring
in Scott Sevin while redshirt freshman Kris Kessler also was on the roster.
Special teams coach Joe Robinson instead turned to sophomore placekicker Matt Prater, who handled field goal and kickoff duties a year ago.
Prater made Robinson look like a genus after using a rugby-style punt in 2003.
Prater has twice broken the school record for punting average per game,
including last week’s record-setting performance at Ohio.
Prater boomed seven punts for 403 yards, good for a school-record average of
57.6 yards per punt. Prater held the school record with a 55.7 yards per punt
average after the season opener at Virginia Tech.
At Ohio, Prater kicked a 74-yard punt, the second longest in school history.
Longest Punts In UCF History
1. Glenn McCombs 77
10/29/83 vs. Austin Peay
2. Matt Prater 74
10/11/03 at Ohio
3. Matt Prater 71
8/31/03 at Virginia Tech
On This Date
UCF is 0-2 all-time on Oct. 18. The Golden Knights lost to Eastern Kentucky
51-24 in 1986 and 28-3 to North Alabama in 1980.
Alex’s Career Day
Alex Haynes established new career-highs with 30 carries for 165 yards in UCF’s
19-10 victory over Buffalo. Haynes was the first UCF running back since 1995 to
carry the ball 30 times in a game.
The last time a Golden Knight toted the ball 30 times, Marquette Smith rushed 39
times for 203 yards vs. Bethune-Cookman on Nov. 4, 1995.
Haynes broke his previous personal best of 156 yards he rushed for in 2002 at
Miami (Ohio). He also broke his attempts record after his previous best was 27
carries last year vs. Ohio.
The 30 attempts vs. Buffalo put Haynes sixth on the all-time, single-game
rushing attempts list at UCF. Marquette Smith’s 39 carries vs. Bethune-Cookman
in 1995 is the school record.
Haynes Reaches The 2,000-Yard Club
With 54 rushing yards at Kent State, Alex Haynes became the sixth running back
in school history to rush for 2,000 yards.
Haynes is third in school history with 2,184 yards after rushing for 165 yards
vs. Buffalo. Haynes vaulted himself from sixth to third in the career rankings
at UCF with the big day vs. the Bulls.
UCF Career Rushing Leaders
1. Willie English (1989-91, 93) 3,131
2. Marquette Smith (1994-95) 2,569
3. Alex Haynes (2001-Pres.) 2,176
4. Elgin Davis (1983-86) 2,170
5. Gerod Davis (1992-95) 2,164
Haynes Continues To Hit Pay Dirt
Alex Haynes has scored at least one touchdown in eight of the last 12 games he
has played in.
Haynes is now tied for eighth in school history with 21 career touchdowns
scored. He is also tied for fourth in school history with 20 career rushing
UCF Career Rushing TD Leaders
1. Willie English (1989-91, 93) 38
2. Daunte Culpepper (1995-98) 24
3. Mark Giacone (1987, 89-90) 22
4. Alex Haynes (2001-Pres.) 20
4. Mike Grant (1995-98) 20
UCF Career Touchdown Leaders
1. Willie English (1989-91, 93) 38
2. David Rhodes (1991-94) 29
3. Gerod Davis (1992-95) 25
4. Bret Cooper (1989-92) 24
Daunte Culpepper (1995-98) 24
6. Mark Giacone (1987, 89-90) 22
Mike Grant (1995-98) 22
8. Alex Haynes (2001-Pres.) 21
Ted Wilson (21 (1983-86) 21
Doug Gabriel (2001-02) 21
Reaching The Century Mark
Alex Haynes rushed for 105 yards on 13 carries in the first half vs. Buffalo for
his ninth career 100-yard game. Haynes is now third in school history with nine
100-yard games and it was the first 100-yard rushing game in 2003 for Haynes and
UCF Career 100-Yard Rushing Games
1. Willie English (1989-91, 93) 15
2. Marquette Smith (1994-95) 13
3. Alex Haynes (2001-Pres.) 9
Adding Up The Carries
Alex Haynes leads the team with 99 rushing attempts in 2003 and has moved into
the top six in career rushing attempts at UCF.
Haynes is just nine attempts out of fifth place on the career attempts list.
UCF Career Rushing Attempts
1. Willie English (1989-91, 93) 606
2. Elgin Davis (1983-86) 485
3. Marquette Smith (1994-95) 468
4. Daunte Culpepper (1995-98) 456
5. Mark Giacone (1987, 89-90) 452
6. Alex Haynes (2001-Pres.) 444
Consistency Behind Center
With Ryan Schneider unable to play vs. Buffalo, it snapped a string of 34
consecutive starts at quarterback for the senior. The last time Schneider failed
to start a game was during his redshirt freshman season in 2000.
The last time Schneider did not start prior to last week’s missed start was
Sept. 23, 2000 at home vs. William & Mary.
UCF Consecutive Starts At QB
1. Darin Hinshaw 1991-94 37
2. Daunte Culpepper 1995-98 35
3. Ryan Schneider 2000-pre. 34
Consecutive Starts At Quarterback
In the last 13 seasons, UCF has had just two starting quarterbacks miss a start
due to injury. From 1991-94, Darin Hinshaw started 37 consecutive games behind
center. From 1995-98, Daunte Culpepper started 35 straight games, missing only
the Hawaii game his freshman season. Vic Penn followed Culpepper and started 15
straight games before missing a start in the 2000 season due to injury.
From there, Ryan Schneider started 34 consecutive games until last week vs.
Buffalo. With Schneider out, it was just the second time in the last 13 years
that UCF has had a quarterback miss a game due to injury.
Yrs. Quarterback Consc. starts
1991-94 Darin Hinshaw 37
1995-98 Daunte Culpepper 35
1999-00 Vic Penn * 15
2000-03 Ryan Schneider * 34
* Missed start to injury
First-Time QB Starters Under Kruczek
Now in his sixth season at UCF, head coach Mike Kruczek has had just three
quarterbacks make their first career starts under his guidance as the head
In 1999, junior Vic Penn made his first career start at No. 22 Purdue. Penn and
the Knights lost 47-13 to the Boilermakers. Penn was 4-7 in his first season as
Schneider made his first start behind center Sept. 30, 2000 at Eastern Michigan.
Schneider finished 27-for-38 for 365 yards and two touchdowns. He ended the year
5-2 as the starter.
During UCF’s streak of 13 seasons with just four starting quarterbacks, Kruczek
guided two other quarterbacks during his tenure as offensive coordinator in the
1990s. Daunte Culpepper set an NCAA I-AA record with 12 straight completions to
start the game vs. Eastern Kentucky in 1995. Culpepper finished the contest
20-for-25. UCF topped Eastern Kentucky 40-32 in Orlando.
In 1991, Darin Hinshaw completed just six-of-21 passes for 86 yards and two
interceptions in a 20-6 loss at Georgia Southern.
Darin Hinshaw -- 10/26/91 vs. GSU
6-for-21, 86 yards, 2 INT
Daunte Culpepper -- 8/31/95 vs. EKU
20-for-25, 254 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT
Vic Penn -- 9/4/99 at Purdue
24-for-45, 250 yards, TD, 4 INT
Ryan Schneider -- 9/30/00 at EMU
27-for-38, 365 yards, 2 TD, INT
Jon Rivera -- 10/4/03 vs. Buffalo
6-for-14, 59 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Capers Takes It To The House
Junior wide receiver Tavaris Capers returned a 52-yard punt for his first career
touchdown via a return vs. Buffalo.
The punt return for a touchdown was the first for UCF since last season when
Alphonzo Hopkins returned a blocked punt two yards for a touchdown at Miami
The last time UCF returned a punt for a touchdown without blocking the kick was
Nov. 21, 1998, when Siaha Burley returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown vs.
The 10,000 Yard Club
Ryan Schneider became just the 25th player in NCAA history to pass for over
10,000 career yards after throwing for 284 yards at Syracuse Sept. 20. The
senior quarterback is now 22nd in NCAA history with 10,210 career passing yards.
NCAA Career Passing Yard Leaders
1. Ty Detmer (BYU) 15,031
2. Tim Rattay (La. Tech) 12,746
3. Chris Redman (Louisville) 12,541
4. Kliff Klingsbury (Texas Tech) 12,429
5. Todd Santos (San Diego St.) 11,425
18. Philip Rivers (NC State) 11,319
19. Luke McCown (La. Tech) 11,221
20. Brian McClure (Bowl. Green) 10,280
21. Troy Kopp (Pacific) 10,258
22. Ryan Schneider (UCF) 10,210
23. Glenn Foley (BC) 10,042
24. Cade McNown (UCLA) 10,008
Active players in bold
Schneider Continues Historic Career
Ryan Schneider is also moving quickly in the NCAA record books for career
touchdown passes. The senior is the nation’s active leader with 77 career
NCAA Active TD Pass Leaders
1. Ryan Schneider, UCF 77
1. Luke McCown, La. Tech 77
3. Jared Lorenzen, Kentucky 72
Currently, Schneider is tied for 16th in the NCAA career record books with 77
touchdowns. Schneider is tied with NCAA greats including, John Elway, Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman.
NCAA Career Passing TD Leaders
1 Ty Detmer (BYU) 121
2 Tim Rattay (La. Tech) 115
3 Danny Wuerffel (Florida) 114
4 Chad Pennington (Marshall) 100
5 Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech) 95
T12 Drew Brees (Purdue) 81
T12 Joe Adams (Tennessee St.) 81
14 Chris Weinke (Florida St.) 79
15 Bart Hendricks (Boise St.) 78
T16 Rex Grossman (Florida) 77
T16 John Elway (Stanford) 77
T16 Donovan McNabb (Syracuse) 77
T16 Ryan Schneider (UCF) 77
Schneider In The UCF Record Books
Senior quarterback Ryan Schneider is closing in on several of former UCF
All-American Daunte Culpepper’s school records. Schneider already broke
Culpepper’s single-game yardage mark last season vs. Syracuse (440 yards) and
single-season record (3,770 yards). The senior quarterback broke his own school
mark with 497 yards passing earlier in the year vs. Florida Atlantic.
With 77 career touchdown passes, Schneider is the active leader among NCAA
quarterbacks and is just seven shy of Culpepper’s mark of 84.
Schneider is also third among active players in career passing yards with
10,210. Schneider needs 1,203passing yards to eclipse Culpepper as UCF’s
all-time leader in passing yards.
He also tied Culpepper for the school record for both 300- and 400-yard passing
games in a career. With 497 yards vs. Florida Atlantic, it marked the 15th time
Schneider has broken the 300-yard mark in a game while also eclipsing the
400-yard mark for the third time.
With 501 yards rushing and passing vs. FAU, Schneider also broke the single-game
total offense record at UCF. Culpepper held the old mark with 480 yards vs.
In career pass attempts, Schneider is now second in school history with 1,244
attempts. He moved past Darin Hinshaw (1,112) for second place and now trails
Culpepper for first by 147attempts.
UCF Head Coach Mike Kruczek
UCF head coach Mike Kruczek is known as one of the top offensive minds in the
nation and his teams have proven it. In his sixth season at the helm, Kruczek is
35-26 and has finished with a winning record in four of the five years he has
been head coach at UCF.
Of Kruczek’s 27 losses, 18 have come against schools from BCS conferences.
During Kruczek’s tenure, the Knights have lost to a BCS team by seven or fewer
points six times.
Since taking over as the head coach of the program in 1998, Kruczek’s teams have
finished in the top 15 nationally in passing offense. The Golden Knights ranked
sixth in 2002 and ninth in 2001 in the NCAA. In Kruczek’s first year at the
helm, he led UCF to a sixth place showing in NCAA passing offense.
Prior to being named the head coach of the Golden Knight program in 1998,
Kruczek served as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at UCF since
UCF has had a quarterback finish in the top 20 nationally in total offense each
of the past seven years, including three in the top five. A Golden Knight
receiver has ranked in the top 20 in the nation in six of the past seven
seasons, including four in the top 10.
Kruczek, a former All-American quarterback at Boston College, won two Super Bowl
rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1978 and 1979.
Special teams coach Joe Robinson has had quite a debut in 2003. Robinson, who is
the newest member of the coaching staff after serving at Houston in 2002, led
the Golden Knights to an impressive start to the year vs. special teams guru
Frank Beamer and Virginia Tech.
Robinson, who dubs his unit the “Wild Knights”, got the best of Beamerball.
Matt Prater set a new UCF record with a 55.7 yardage per punt average vs. the
Hokies. Prater totaled six punts for 334 yards and had three kicks over 60
yards. The old single-game record for UCF was held by Glenn McCombs, who
averaged 49.6 yards per punt vs. Carson-Newman on November 5, 1983.
Prater’s 67-yard punt in the first quarter tied for the sixth-longest punt in
UCF history. Prater tied Marek Butcher, who kicked a 67-yarder vs. Auburn Sept.
27, 1997. In the second quarter, Prater booted a 71-yard punt, the third longest
punt in school history.
The Wild Knights also blocked a 21-yard field goal attempt when Paul Carrington
swatted away the Hokie attempt.
In the win over Florida Atlantic, the special teams unit for UCF totaled two
field goals as Prater connected from 43 and 38 yards. He also had two touchbacks
on kickoffs and punted for an average of 42.5 yards per punt.
The special teams continued to perform well at Syracuse. Ryan Beal blocked the
first punt of his career in the first half of the game vs. the Orangemen and
Tavaris Capers returned a punt for a career-long 35 yards.
At Kent State, UCF blocked its third kick of the year when Antoine Poe blocked a
In the Buffalo game, the return game was impressive as Tavaris Capers returned a
punt 52 yards for a touchdown while Luther Huggins had a 68-yard kickoff return.
At Ohio, Prater set a new school record with an average of 57.6 yards per punt,
including a 74-yard punt, the second longest in school history.
Back-To-Back 1,000 Yard Seasons
Alex Haynes is looking to become just the second running back in UCF history to
rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons in 2003. Last year, Haynes raced
for 1,038 yards, the third best figure in single-season school history.
Only Marquette Smith has accomplished that feat with 1,511 rushing yards in 1995
and 1,058 yards in 1994. Those totals rank Smith first and fourth respectively
on the single-season rushing list at UCF.
True Freshmen In 2003
Five true freshmen have played for the Golden Knights in 2003. Renford Parkes is
the only member of the class who will miss the remainder of the season with a
Two wide receivers have seen action in Mike Walker and Brooks Turner. Walker was
sensational vs. Florida Atlantic, finishing with four catches for 104 yards.
Fullback Evandall Williams has also seen time along with cornerback Ron Ellis.
Putting Up With Poe
UCF’s opponents are quickly finding out how important it is for the Golden
Knight defense to have a healthy Antoine Poe back in the lineup.
The redshirt junior outside linebacker missed all of last season due to injury,
but has started 2003 with a bang.
In the season opener at Virginia Tech, Poe finished with eight tackles including
five for a loss. He also was awarded the “Big Stick” of the week by the team for
his tackle on Virginia Tech running back Kevin Jones.
Against Florida Atlantic, Poe established a new career-high with nine tackles
including his first career two-sack game.
Poe shattered his personal-best with 16 tackles at Kent State. Poe also blocked
a field goal, recovered a fumble and had one tackle-for-loss vs. the Golden
Capers Enjoying Leading Role
With the loss of UCF’s two top receivers from a year ago, there were plenty of
questions on who would step up and be the go-to-guy for Ryan Schneider this
season. Junior speedster Tavaris Capers has quickly established himself as the
No. 1 receiver for the UCF aerial attack.
The 5-9 Miami native has tied his career-high with nine receptions each in the
first four games this season. In the season opener at Virginia Tech, Capers
caught nine passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns. In the FAU game, Capers set
a new career-best with 89 receiving yards on nine receptions.
Stephens Steps It Up
After recording just four sacks through the first three games, the UCF defensive
line and junior defensive end Josh Stephens stepped it up at Kent State.
The Golden Knights recorded four sacks as a team including two by Stephens.
The junior college transfer from Trinity Valley CC sacked Kent State quarterback
Joshua Cribbs and forced a fumbled on the same play that UCF recovered.
Stephens made just his second career start for the Knights in the KSU contest.
Slow Starting Knights
The first quarter has not been a good quarter for UCF in 2003. UCF’s opponents
have outscored the Knights 65-9.
Schneider On Two National Lists
The Davey O’Brien Foundation announced the preseason watch list for the 2003
Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and UCF senior Ryan Schneider was one
of the 42 candidates named to the list. The Davey O’Brien Award is given
annually to the nation’s top college quarterback.
Schneider was one of 26 quarterbacks announced as candidates for the Johnny
Unitas Golden Arm Award. Of the 26 quarterbacks selected to the 2003 watch list,
Schneider was second in passing yards last season with 3,770.
Bigby On Nagurski Watch List
The Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America
announced the 2003 watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy naming UCF strong
safety Atari Bigby as a candidate for the post-season honor. The award is given
annually to recognize the top defensive player in college football.
The award is named after Hall of Famer and University of Minnesota and Chicago Bears star Bronko Nagurski.
Celebrating 25 Years!
From the humble beginnings of borrowed equipment to the bright lights of
national television, UCF is proudly celebrating its Silver Anniversary of
football in 2003.
The first game left plenty to be desired as a heavy downpour prior to kickoff
flooded a cow pasture turned football field in Dade City, Fla. A soggy crowd,
exaggerated at 1,000, watched as the upstarts from Orlando blanked St. Leo,
Just 25 years later, fans from across the nation will tune in to watch the
Knights on television six times in 2003, including two appearances on national
Haynes On Doak Walker List
The SMU Athletic Forum announced the names of the 39 preseason candidates for
the 2003 Doak Walker Award, awarded annually to the nation’s top college running
The SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors will select eight semifinalists on
November 19, and the Doak Walker Award National Selection Committee will vote on
the winner in late November.
The Zips of the University of Akron possess one of the nation’s top offenses.
Led by junior quarterback Charlie Frye, the Zips rank sixth nationally in total
offense (483.3 ypg). Akron is also 13th in the nation in scoring offense (37.3
ppg) and eighth in passing offense (323.3 ypg).
Frye is seventh in the NCAA in total offense (314.4 ypg) and 17th in pass
Wide receiver Matt Cherry leads the team with 31 receptions and 77.6 receiving
yards per game. Cherry is also second in the nation in punt returns (20.17).
On defense, the Zips have allowed 27.6 points per game, 75th in the nation.
Opponents have averaged 156.6 yards on the ground per game vs. Akron and 229.4
yards through the air.
Junior middle linebacker Chase Blackburn leads the team with 59 total tackles
including 11 tackles for loss. In 2002, Blackburn ranked first on the team with
96 total tackles and 61 solo stops.
Akron Head Coach Lee Owens
Now in his ninth season as head coach, Lee Owens has recorded just two winning
seasons with the Zips.
Owens is 37-59 in his career with Akron including a 28-38 mark in the
In 2002, Akron opened 0-6 before winning four of its final six games. Included
in the late-season surge was the program’s first win over a top-25 opponent
after the Zips topped Marshall 34-20.
Owens has also served as an assistant coach at Ohio State from 1992-94, serving
as tight ends/tackles coach.
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