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September 14, 2013

Keys To The Game: U-M vs. Akron

Keys To The Game

The Basics
Quote of the Week
The Teams: Akron (1-1) at Michigan (2-0)
The History: This is the first meeting between the two teams.
The Depth Charts: Akron and Michigan
The Place: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor
The Time: High Noon
The Line: Michigan -37.5
The Broadcast: Big Ten Network
The Updates: Follow the game on The Fort or follow us on Twitter: Borton, Balas, Spath, Reid and Sullivan.

"There are absolutely no expectations here. I've asked around, wondering what would qualify as a successful season, and no one really has had a good answer for me.

"There are guys on this team that have had three coaches in four years. They don't know what it's like to win more than one game so if say they beat Louisiana [next week] and get at least one conference victory, I don't want to say they'll be happy, but that's something to build on. It's a steppingstone for them."

-- Akron Beacon Journel Zips beat writer George Thomas.
The Essentials
By the Numbers
  • Game Matchups: TheWolverine.com breaks down the most important matchups in the game: Jehu Chesson vs. the Akron secondary; the Michigan defense vs. Akron offense on third downs; and winning the turnover battle. Click here for more
  • Staff Predictions: TheWolverine.com writers unanimously pegged a Michigan win. Click here to see our picks
  • Breaking Down Akron: Former U-M offensive line coach Jerry Hanlon talked with John Borton about Akron football. Click here to listen
  • Akron Preview: Michael Spath sits down with Akron play-by-play announcer Steve French to talk about the game. Click here to listen.                                             
3: The number of wins over FBS teams Akron has in its last 50 games. The Zips have not beaten an FBS opponent since the last game of the 2010 season.
17: The number of teams, including Akron, that have surrendered 5,000 or more yards in each of the last three seasons. The Zips currently rank 113th nationally in total defense (487.0 ypg).
152: The total margin of victory in U-M's four games against MAC teams since Hoke took over: 59-9 over CMU, 63-13 over UMass, 34-10 over WMU and 31-3 over EMU

Five Players To Watch
1. Shane Morris, freshman quarterback: Everyone knows what redshirt junior quarterback Devin Gardner can do. But what if he goes down with an injury? Morris got quite a bit of playing time in the Wolverines' win over Central Michigan, and other half of playing time will be huge for him, moving into Big Ten season.

2. Derrick Green, freshman running back: In the same vein as Morris, Green needs to get as much early-season experience as possible. Unlike Morris, Green figures to see plenty of playing time this season, regardless of the health status of starter Fitzgerald Toussiant. Green looked good in week one, with a team-high 58 rushing yards and a score. Can he continue to build on that?

3. Kyle Pohl, redshirt sophomore quarterback: Pohl has been the bright spot of an Akron offense that has struggled to consistently move the ball in the first two weeks of the season. He has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes in the first two weeks (30-of-43 for 241 yards, two touchdowns and two picks). He may share playing time with junior Nick Hirschman.

4. Frank Clark, junior defensive end: Clark's pass-rushing prowess was a big talking point this summer. Through two games, Clark has had a few nice quarterback hurries - but he hasn't registered a sack yet in 2013. This game will give him a chance to get it going. Before the season, Clark said he wanted to reach double-digit sacks this year; for that to happen, he has to start now.

1. Justin March, junior linebacker: March leads the team with 15 tackles through the first two5games. He registerd 62 last season and 35 the year before. March is a veteran linebacker who will be a play a huge part in Akron's hopes to slow down the Michigan offense.

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