Jabari Arthur, WR – Hoosier fans quickly learned about the abilities of Western Michigan wideout Jemarko Simmons, who set a new IU opponent record with 14 receptions in Saturday's game in Kalamazoo. This week, the Hoosiers will go up against a very similar wideout in Arthur. Both are of similar stature (Simmons is 6'2", 243; Arthur is 6'4", 225) and importance. Arthur has caught 44 percent of Akron's completed passes this fall, while Simmons has been on the receiving end of 51 percent of the Broncos' completions. In the first two games, Arthur has been the Zips' only downfield threat. He's the only wideout with more than three receptions and the only player on the Akron roster with a reception of at least 10 yards. The Hoosier secondary didn't do the sort of job they had hoped to against Simmons, and now they'll get a second crack at stopping one of the MAC's biggest and best wide receivers.
Dennis Kennedy, RB – Kennedy was a preseason All-MAC pick after rushing for 914 yards and earning second-team all-league honors as a junior. He weas expected to share the job with Alex Allen and Bryan Williams and give the Zips one of the MAC's best rushing attacks, but that hasn't happened in the first two weeks. Kennedy is averaging only 40.0 yards/game and the Zips are averaging only 68 yards on the ground per contest. They were particularly woeful against Ohio State, netting just three yards and never mustering a single run for more than five yards. If Akron is going to be competitive in Bloomington it will need a balanced offensive attack, and Kennedy will need to be a big part of that.
Brian Stokes, OLB – The Zips' strongside linebacker isn't overly big at 5'10" and 220 pounds, but he's been a big playmaker throughout his career. What he likes in size he makes up for with great sideline to sideline speed. He was a second-team All-MAC pick in 2005 and had 79 tackles and 15 tackles for loss last season. He's already off to a quick start this fall, totaling 12 tackles and five tackles for loss in the first two weeks. The Zips' use a 3-3-5 defensive scheme that allows Stokes to be a bit of a free-wheeler, and he'll be someone that the IU coaching staff will need to be sure to keep track of throughout the game.
Reggie Corner, CB – Corner lives up to his name, generally drawing the top wideout on the opposing team as the Zips' top coverman. Corner earned MAC Defensive Player of the Week honors two weeks ago after a two-interception effort against Army, and then helped anchor an Akron secondary that surrendered only 167 yards passing to Ohio State. Corner had four interceptions in '06 and nine for his career, but he will have his hands full against Indiana. Corner is only 5'9" and 175 pounds, so he'll be giving up nearly a foot and 50 pounds when he's matched up against James Hardy. Corner might be able to run with Hardy as well as IU's other wideouts, but he'll have his issues if IU quarterback Kellen Lewis can keep his throws high and allow his targets to go up and get the ball.
What's coming up:
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday - Four Players to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction
AKRON: Four Days and Counting
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