Sep 2, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Akron Zips head coach Terry Bowden during the second quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Akron 52-0. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Akron head coach Terry Bowden knows what his team is getting when they face a Matt Campbell squad. The veteran head coach has already seen what Campbell can do as a coach after they split a pair of games when Iowa State’s head man was the leader of MAC-rival Toledo.
Despite having some insight into Campbell as a coach, Bowden says there is little he can take away from previous experiences coaching against him when the Cyclones visit the Zips Saturday for an 11 a.m. kick (on CBS Sports Network).
“I’m not sure you can take a thing from it except respect,” Bowden said during the weekly Mid-American Conference teleconference on Monday. “You respect a coach’s abilities to be a head coach. I’ve been a head coach 24 years and I do not believe you win with x’s and o’s. You win with Jimmys and Joes. He’s getting football players there that can play football, but I already know he knows how to run a football program. He’s been a part of a great one. He grew up around here. He played for a great football program in college.”
The Zips moved to 1-1 over the weekend with a 52-3 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The win followed a 52-0 loss to No. 6 Penn State in the team’s season opener.
Akron enters Saturday’s game as one of the top defenses in the country at forcing tackles for loss as they have recorded 8.5 in the first two games, which ranks them No. 19 in college football in the category. Bowden knows it will be on his defense to step up in order to slow down a potent Iowa State offense averaging more than 40 points per game.
“The thing that I do know is that this team scores a lot of points,” Bowden said. “They put the points on the board first game and second game. Much better football team. I thought last year they were a much improved football team. I know their head coach, he’s a great coach. I knew he was going to get this thing moving in the right direction. My first impressions are we better be pretty productive because they can score points.”
Bowden’s desire to have a productive offense will fall largely on the shoulders of senior quarterback Thomas Woodson. The Monroeville, Pa. native has completed 27-of-44 passes for 237 yards so far this season while Ohio State transfer Warren Ball has led the way on the ground with 173 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries.
The duo create an offensive threat capable of controlling the ball and the clock, something the Zips will likely have to do in order to have success against Iowa State. Still, the Cyclones will have a decided talent advantage over the Zips unlike they have in past seasons when visiting smaller schools on the road.
Most people remember Iowa State’s loss to Toledo, then coached by Campbell, the last time they went on the road to face a MAC team. Bowden is hoping the Zips can catch Iowa State in a similar fashion.
“You hope a big Power 5 conference team will not play their best,” Bowden said. “Will look beyond. I’m not putting thoughts in their heads, but that’s what everybody hopes for. When you look at the conference, you see a lot of teams win these kinds of games. I don’t think it’s out of the usual.”