Pre-Season Peeks: Game 9-Akron; Game 10-BGSU

After a two-game home stand for Herd, Marshall is back in the Buckeye State for a two-game road trip. First stop is the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio, where a national TV audience will watch a key East Division battle between the Herd and the Zips on a Friday Night Special. Eight days later, Marshall returns to Doyt Perry Stadium, where the Herd is 2-13 all-time against the defending West Division champions, the Bowling Green State Falcons. A perfect MU season in '98 was ruined here in NW OH.

Game Nine: University of Akron-November 5, Akron, OH 7:00 p.m. (Friday on ESPN2)
Nickname: Zips
Colors: Blue (282) and Gold (871)
Conference: Mid-American*
Last (at MU 11/01/03): MU-42 Akron-24
All-time Series: Marshall 8-3
2003 Record: 7-5/5-3
Head Coach: J.D. Brookhart (first season; Univ. of Pittsburgh Offensive Coordinator last four years)
Stadium: Rubber Bowl (seats-34,000; surface-artificial AstroPlay)
Defensive Watch List (6 starters return):
Sr. DE Dwayne LeFall, 6-3, 260; led Zips with 6.5 sacks last season; had 39 tackles, 4 tackles-for-loss, an interception and a pass-broken-up; recorded 4.5 sacks as true frosh in 2000, then was a red-shirt in 2001; 5 tackles-for-loss and 22 tackles in 2002
Jr. LB Diontre Earl, 5-10, 245; Third on team in tackles with 99 stops, but led Zips in tackles-for-loss with 10; also recorded 1.5 sacks and a pass-broken-up; 67 tackles and 12 tackles-for-loss in 2002
Offensive Watch List (6 starters return):
Sr. QB Charlie Frye, 6-4, 225; 4.6 speed; Akron has launched Heisman campaign for Frye on website; in three years Frye has 33 starts, 8,426 yards passing, a 63.5 percent passing ration, 46 touchdowns and 24 interceptions; has also rushed for 1,138 yards in career; last year 421-273-9 3,549 yards, 64.8 percent completions and 22 touchdowns; Akron 15-20 over last three years
Sr. C Jim Borrieci, 6-3, 295; 24 starts over last two seasons; named to Dave Rimington Award list (outstanding collegiate center); one of four returning starters, three of which have played together for two seasons; OL gave up 32 sacks in 2003, 34 in 2002
2004 Schedule: 9/4 @ Penn State; 9/11 MTSU; 9/18 @ UVA; 9/23 @ Kent State* (Thursday); 10/2 @ No. Illinois*; 10/9 Buffalo*; 10/16 @ UCF*; 10/23 Ball State*; 11/5 Marshall* (Friday); 11/13 @ Ohio*; 11/20 Miami*
Of Note: Former coach Lee Owens fired despite 7-5 mark, first winning season at UA since 6-5 in 2000; Akron has had losing record 8 of last 11 seasons; J.D. Brookhart was a WR at Colorado State, graduated in 1988; is first-year head coach after coaching at Pittsburgh; Brookhart also coached with Denver Broncos in 1995-96; Zips Offensive Coordinator is Jim Pry, a backup quarterback for the Herd in 1971-73, student coach in 1974 and graduate assistant at MU in 1975; Pry was OC for Duke last two seasons; Akron launched Frye 2004 Heisman Trophy campaign for senior QB at spring game, where Frye hit 15-of-18 for 188 yards and one score; Converted DB Domenik Hixon, who led team in tackles in 2003 with 111, caught nine for 122 yards and a touchdown in conversion to WR; Defensive Coordinator is Jim Flemming, former DC last two years at UNC and former HC at Sacred Heart, where he was 21-1 in two seasons; also DC at Villanova, Brown and Boise State

Game Ten: Bowling Green-November 13, Bowling Green, OH 4:00 p.m. (THN/MAC)
Nickname: Falcons
Colors: Seal Brown and Orange
Conference: Mid-American*
Last (at MU 9/29/01): MU-37 BGSU-31
All-time Series: Bowling Green 19-7
2003 Record: 11-3/7-2; won Motor City Bowl, MAC West Division
Head Coach: Greg Brandon (11-3, one year; former Offensive Coordinator at BGSU)
Stadium: Doyt Perry (seats-30,599; surface-natural grass)
Defensive Watch List (8 starters return):
Jr. DE Mitchell Crossley, 6-3, 250; led Falcons with 9 sacks; also added 49 tackles and 3 tackles-for-loss; second team All-MAC; 52 tackles, 7 sacks and 6 tackles-for-loss as red-shirt frosh in 2002
Sr. CB Keon Newson, 6-0, 184; led BG with 124 tackles last season; had eight starts at strong safety at end of year; four early starts at cornerback, where he will start 2004; also one of MAC leaders with 15 passes-broken-up; added 8 tackles-for-loss, 1.5 sacks and one interception; 62 tackles and 2 interceptions in 2002
Offensive Watch List (8 starters return):
Sr. OL Scott Mruczkowski; first team All-MAC last year; 37 starts over three seasons, including 12 starts at LG in 2002, 14 starts at center in 2003; OL allowed only 21 sacks in 14 games last year
Sr. WR Cole Magner, 6-2, 183; led Falcons in receiving in 2003 with 99 catches for 1,138 yards (11.5 ypc) and 10 touchdowns, tied for second most on squad; also led team in kickoff returns with 18 for 357 yards (19.9 ypr); 26 receptions in 2002 (14.4 ypc)
2004 Schedule: 9/4 @ Oklahoma; 9/11 SEMO (I-AA); 9/18 OPEN; 9/24 @No. Illinois* (Friday); 10/2 @ Temple; 10/9 @ CMU*; 10/16 Ball State* (HC); 10/23 @ Ohio*; 10/30 EMU*; 11/6 WMU*; 11/13 Marshall*; 11/23 @ Toledo* (Tuesday)
Of Note: Falcons were ranked number 23 in the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls; Won the West Division, first time that someone besides Toledo or Western Michigan had since 1997 divisional split; Won 10 MAC championships all-time, but last two back-to-back were in 1991 and 1992; MU 2-11 at BGSU since 1954, although won last visit 20-13 in 2000; 7-1 last three years against teams from BCS conferences; three straight seasons with 8 wins or more after 7 straight losing seasons (1994-2000); play road games at both West Division's UT and NIU as well as Oklahoma to open and Temple, plus draw East Division pick Marshall at home in 2004

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