Tennessee Volunteers Vs. Akron Zips: Statsy Game Preview

Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

A weekly look at our upcoming opponent's recent history, with animated drive charts, links to SB Nation game pages, and statistical comparisons. Caveats. And yeah, it's a long post, so we put the conclusions and predictions at both the beginning and the end. You're not seeing double.

Sketchy Conclusions

  • Akron's stats to date have been compiled against UCF, FIU (both losses), and the Morgan State Bears, so they should be viewed with something approaching extreme skepticism.
  • That said, SOUND THE ALARM. The Zips are currently ranking extremely high in both passing attack and passing defense. They're also scoring a bunch of points. Fortunately, they're also allowing a bunch of points.
  • The Zips' rushing attack is either feeble or more of an afterthought than ours. In either case, Tennessee should be able to sell out to stop the pass.
  • On defense, Akron appears to be pretty good against the pass, but not so good against the run. They also give up a lot of points, to FBS opponents anyway.
  • Senior QB Dalton Williams is the guy who makes this thing go, and he looks like he spreads it around a lot. His favorite target appears to be senior Marquelo Suel.
  • If Tennessee still has a Florida hangover, and if they take the Zips lightly, they could be in for a very rude surprise and a worse feeling this week than last.
  • Yeah, I don't really believe it, either, but the numbers should at the very least get our attention and cause us to take them seriously.

Predictions

  • Tennessee 42, Akron 28.

Schedule and Animated Drive Charts

Akron Logo
Central Florida Knights 8/30/12 loss 14 - 56 coverage
@ Fla. International Golden Panthers 9/8/12 loss 38 - 41 coverage
Morgan St. Bears 9/15/12 win 66 - 6 coverage
Tennessee Logo
@ N.C. State Wolfpack 8/31/12 win 35 - 21 coverage
Georgia State Panthers 9/8/12 win 51 - 13 coverage
Florida Gators 9/15/12 loss 20 - 37 coverage

Looking at those schedules, you have to think that playing Florida and NC State trumps UCF and FIU. And the Zips lost two of those games. The Morgan State Bears? Who are they?

On the other hand, UCF and FIU are not complete unknowns. They're Florida teams that have made some noise in the past.

But honestly, that schedule for Akron is wildly inconsistent. They allow an average of nearly 50 points in their first two games and then not even a TD? Then they score 14, then 38, then 66? Who can make sense of that?

Here's the drive chart from Akron's only win so far, for whatever it's worth:

FULL SCREEN VERSION

Animated Drive Chart brought to you by Gameday Depot.

That's a wholte lot of stuff on the left side of that thing, especially considering it also includes a fumble, two interceptions, and a missed field goal.

National Unit Rankings

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Conf Leader Actual
Rushing Offense 95 118.33 Air Force 387.00 10 Ball St. 262.33
Passing Offense 5 378.00 Marshall 425.00 1 Akron 378.00
Total Offense 26 496.33 Oklahoma St. 686.67 1 Akron 496.33
Scoring Offense 26 39.33 Oklahoma St. 62.33 2 Buffalo 39.50
Passing Efficiency 52 139.04 TCU 238.53 4 Buffalo 170.43
Sacks Allowed T-52 1.67 Middle Tenn. .00 5 Central Mich. .50

Offensive observations. Hmm. Watch out for the passing offense. 378 yards per game is pretty good even against that schedule, I'd think. Fortunately, they can't run. Or maybe they just don't, rather than can't.

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Conf Leader Actual
Rushing Defense 86 181.67 Florida St. 33.67 7 Ohio 74.00
Pass Efficiency Defense 66 127.65 Florida St. 60.50 4 Northern Ill. 107.61
Total Defense 39 342.33 Florida St. 103.33 2 Western Mich. 329.67
Scoring Defense 98 34.33 Florida St. 1.00 8 Ohio 20.67
Pass Defense 14 160.67 Florida St. 69.67 2 Northern Ill. 140.00
Sacks T-55 2.00 Texas A&M 6.00 6 Buffalo 4.50
Tackles For Loss 38 6.67 Connecticut 10.67 4 Western Mich. 8.00

Defensive observations. Akron appears to be pretty good at pass defense, but not so good against the run. Overall, they also give up a lot of points.

SPECIAL TEAMS AND TURNOVERS RANKINGS
Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Conf Leader Actual
Net Punting 109 31.80 Texas 49.40 10 Ball St. 42.60
Punt Returns 45 11.00 Kansas St. 36.25 2 Western Mich. 15.13
Kickoff Returns 93 17.89 Rutgers 55.00 10 Kent St. 39.71
Turnover Margin T-94 -1.00 Alabama 3.67 8 Kent St. 2.50

Special teams and turnovers observations. Nothing to see here.

Players to Watch

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
OFFENSE
Rushing Jawon Chisholm 63.00
Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game) Dalton Williams 58 135.09
Total Offense Dalton Williams 11 330.00
Jawon Chisholm 63.00
Receptions Per Game Marquelo Suel T-24 6.67
L.T. Smith T-71 5.33
Keith Sconiers 4.33
Zach D'Orazio 3.00
Dee Frieson 3.00
Receiving Yards Per Game Marquelo Suel 34 86.67
Keith Sconiers 53.67
L.T. Smith 50.33
Zach D'Orazio 41.67

Offensive Observations. Senior QB Dalton Williams is the guy who makes this thing go, and he looks like he spreads it around a lot. The leading receiver appears to be senior Marquelo Suel.

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
DEFENSE
Interceptions Justin March T-69 .33
Sacks J.D. Griggs T-12 1.17
Kurt Mangum .33
Alfonso Horner .33
Tackles
Tackles For Loss J.D. Griggs T-36 1.50
Troy Gilmer 1.00
Cody Grice .83
Albert Presley .83

Defense. Not a whole lot to see here, either, but somebody needs to block senior DL J.D. Griggs.

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
SPECIAL TEAMS
Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game) Zach Paul 39 42.73
Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Imani Davis 20 14.62
Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game)
Field Goals Robert Stein T-69 .67
Scoring Robert Stein 6.67
Marquelo Suel 6.00
L.T. Smith 4.00
Conor Hundley 4.00
Jawon Chisholm 4.00
All-Purpose Runners Marquelo Suel 86.67
Jawon Chisholm 83.33

Special teams. I said earlier that there didn't appear to be anything noteworthy on special teams for the Zips, but Imani Davis is worth some attention.

Head to Head Comparisons

Tennessee Logo Akron Logo
Comps
Result Against Comps
Prediction
UT rush v. Akron rush defense 152.67
(#71)
181.67
(#86)
Florida
(106)
(#29)
83 180
UT pass v. Akron pass defense 321.33
(#14)
160.67
(#14)
Florida
(227.67)
(#66)
257 180
Akron rush v. UT rush defense 180.67
(#84)
118.33
(#95)
NC State
(100)
(#108)
119 110
Akron pass v. UT pass defense 227.67
(#66)
378
(#5)
NC State
(249.67)
(#53)
288 250
UT scoring offense v. Akron scoring defense

35.33
(#37)

34.33
(#98)
Florida/NC State
(17/16.33)
(#32/#31)
20/35 42
Akron scoring offense v. UT scoring defense 23.67
(#64)
39.33
(#26)
Florida
(28)
(#68)
37 28

Again with the caveats: These are informed guesses rather than mathematical calculations, and this early in the season, the guesses are particularly sketchy. But here's the general analytical framework: We are averaging X in a certain category. The opponent averages Y against that, which is most closely comparable to some identified previous opponent, against whom we did Z. All of that leads to an informed guess labeled as Prediction. And one more time for emphasis: The less data you have, the more sketchy the guess, and the guesses range from ALL CAPS SKETCHY WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS at the beginning of the season to merely lower case sketchy for the last game.

This week's example: Tennessee's defense is allowing about 180 yards on the ground. Akron's averaging about 118. Of our prior opponents, that most closely resembles North Carolina State, who is holding opponents to 100 rushing yards per game. We held them to 119, a bit over their average. Allowing for Akron's schedule to some unknown degree, my guess is 110 rushing yards for Akron. The schedule thing factors even more heavily when you look at Akron's passing attack, which, if you just looked a the numbers, would lead to a conclusion of something like 450 yards through the air for them. Their numbers are enough to have my attention, but I'm also skeptical enough of them to not put too much stock in them.

So I have 360 yards of offense for the Vols and . . . 360 yards of offense for Akron. That can't be right, can it? And a score of 42-28? No, I don't really believe it, either, but there it is. It could be a chore to stop these guys if Sal Sunseri's guys don't get it together. And remember Brian Randolph is out and needs to be replaced.

Sketchy Conclusions

  • Akron's stats to date have been compiled against UCF, FIU (both losses), and the Morgan State Bears, so they should be viewed with something approaching extreme skepticism.
  • That said, SOUND THE ALARM. The Zips are currently ranking extremely high in both passing attack and passing defense. They're also scoring a bunch of points. Fortunately, they're also allowing a bunch of points.
  • The Zips' rushing attack is either feeble or more of an afterthought than ours. In either case, Tennessee should be able to sell out to stop the pass.
  • On defense, Akron appears to be pretty good against the pass, but not so good against the run. They also give up a lot of points, to FBS opponents anyway.
  • Senior QB Dalton Williams is the guy who makes this thing go, and he looks like he spreads it around a lot. His favorite target appears to be senior Marquelo Suel.
  • If Tennessee still has a Florida hangover, and if they take the Zips lightly, they could be in for a very rude surprise and a worse feeling this week than last.
  • Yeah, I don't really believe it, either, but the numbers should at the very least get our attention and cause us to take them seriously.

Predictions

  • Tennessee 42, Akron 28.
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