STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) --
A win in its first game and some success carried over from last year
has Akron confident it can compete with Big Ten opponent Penn State on
Quarterback Kyle Pohl has the Zips on a four-game winning streak
dating to last season, including a 41-0 shutout of Howard in Akron's
opener. He threw for nearly 2,500 yards last season and 308 against
"We can control our calmness and the way we go in there and focus,"
Akron coach Terry Bowden said about the prospect of playing in front of
nearly 100,000 fans at Beaver Stadium as coach James Franklin makes his
home debut for the Nittany Lions.
Akron (1-0) is winless in four games against Penn State.
Penn State (1-0) has won three of its last four behind sophomore
quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who set a school record with 454 yards
passing in last Saturday's 26-24 victory over Central Florida.
Bowden, starting his third season with the Zips, says he hopes his team can limit Hackenberg's success.
"You hope he doesn't make as many big plays. You hope you can get a
little pressure at times," Bowden said. "You hope you can make him drive
the length of the field by not turning the ball over.
"You hope for a lot of things you'd like to do to extend the football
game and get this game into the fourth quarter or the second half or
something, but I don't think you stop a young man like that," Bowden
Neither team displayed a steady running attack in their respective openers, something Penn State's Franklin wants to change.
"We need to do a better job of being able to impose our will in the
running game and be able to dictate the game from that standpoint," he
Things to watch when Akron visits Penn State on Saturday:
NOT RUSHING INTO IT: Penn State ran for just 57 yards against Central
Florida while Akron nearly doubled that total with 113 against Howard.
Pohl scrambled for 48 of those yards. Each team had 28 attempts.
RED (ZONE) ALERT: Akron converted three of four trips inside the 20
against Howard while Penn State was 5 of 5 against UCF. However, three
of Penn State's five red-zone scores were Sam Ficken field goals.
"There's no doubt about it, we have to do a better job of scoring
touchdowns to maximize our opportunities," Franklin said.
FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING: Franklin was head coach for three seasons
at Vanderbilt before bringing his staff to State College. Akron's
Bowden, son of former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, begins his third
season at Akron but has never coached against Penn State at Beaver
FLYING THE FLAG(S): Both teams were hampered in their openers by
penalties. Akron committed seven penalties for 70 yards while Penn State
was docked nine times for 90 yards, including an offensive pass
interference call that negated a first-and-goal at the UCF 4.
DEFENSIVE STANDS: Penn State held UCF to 24 yards on 29 carries and
Bowden cited the Nittany Lions' team speed and defensive front. "They're
a very, very good defensive line," Bowden said. "I would think they are
licking their chops this week just because the talent level Penn State
has against what we got."
Hackenberg was impressed with Akron's team speed. "They fly to the
ball," he said. "It's one of those games that can really sneak up on you
because they're a great opponent and they're coached very well."