Akron at Northwestern Free CFB Saturday Play

On September 15, 2018, in Free Picks, NCAAF, by Stephen

By Stephen Nover

Akron plus 21 at Northwestern

Northwestern isn’t ready to be laying three touchdowns to an experienced defensive team such as Akron.

The Wildcats were fortunate to beat Purdue in their first game even though the Boilermakers outgained them by 71 yards. That win doesn’t look so good anymore either after Purdue was upset at home by 15-point underdog Eastern Michigan last week.

Northwestern then lost as a short home favorite to Duke this past Saturday, 21-7. Aside from running back Jeremy Larkin, the Wildcats have no explosiveness on offense. They also have injuries.

Clayton Thornston is a good quarterback, but he’s not 100 percent and hasn’t been cleared to play an entire game yet. That means backup TJ Green draws playing time. Thornston and Green have combined for no touchdown passes and two interceptions. The Wildcats also could be minus their two starting offensive tackles, Rashawn Slater and Blake Hance, along with starting guard Tommy Doles. All three are questionable with injuries.

Akron is a returning bowl team that has a balanced offense and veteran defense with 10 senior starters, including star linebacker Ulysses Gilbert. Zips quarterback Kato Nelson impressed as a freshman last season and senior Van Edwards Jr. is a solid running back.

The Zips are 1-0 beating Morgan State, 41-7, at home last week. Akron enters this matchup with a lot of confidence. They are one of the better teams in the Mid-American Conference and can hang in against an underacheiving Northwestern squad that has yet to find its way.

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