Indiana head coach Tom Allen expects more from his defense.
The Hoosiers (1-2) had one takeaway in a 21-14 loss to Louisville last week, which is short of the ask from Allen. He wants three per game to help Indiana protect its young quarterback from being overburdened in tight games.
"Still not enough takeaways. Got a goal of three every game," Allen said. "Needed another one; and three, it would be ideal to get what we need to get to be able to set up our offense in a better way."
Quarterback Tayven Jackson does benefit from dynamic running back Jaylin Lucas, the team's leading rusher (141 yards, two TDs) and second on the team in receiving (15-138-1). Still, Allen noted teams are loading the box with eight defenders and forcing Jackson to make decisions and plays off-script. The only route to wins from this point forward is better blocking up front, he said.
"To me, it's about executing and executing at a high level of confidence, and being able to play at the speed I want us to play at from the opening quarter on," Allen said. "That's going to be the emphasis, and like I said, we'll know more next weekend where we feel after the first few games."
Akron (1-2) hasn't found much to like offensively this season, ranking 129th in total offense (262.7 per game) and 130th in rushing offense (42.3).
Akron is coached by former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, with whom Indiana has familiarity, and vice versa. The Zips were in the game last week at Kentucky despite 77 total yards in the first half.
Akron trailed only 14-3 in the third quarter before the Wildcats rattled off 21 consecutive points to close it out.
"I thought it was a much better performance from the inside to the 20s," Moorhead said of his quarterbacks.
Zips quarterbacks DJ Irons and Jeff Undercuffler Jr. have combined for 661 yards passing, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
"(Indiana) is tough, physical, blue collar. They've got a scheme that makes you really have to prepare. It's going to be another really big challenge," Moorhead said.
Indiana is 3-0 all-time in the series and meets Akron for the first time since a 35-20 victory in 2010 behind four touchdown passes from Ben Chappell.
--Field Level Media