Posted: Tuesday December 20, 2005 3:54PM; Updated: Tuesday December 20, 2005 3:55PM
Bowl Breakdown: Motor City
Akron (7-5) vs. Memphis (6-5)
Dec. 26, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Ford Field (65,000)
SI.com's Cory McCartney analyzes the matchup.
Breaking down Akron
An 85-yard performance against Ole Miss in the season opener was DeAngelo Williams' only sub-100 yard game of the year.
Nelson Chenault/US PRESSWIRE
In the MAC championship game, Domenik Hixon overcame cramps and dehydration and caught a 36-yard touchdown that gave the Zips their first-ever MAC title and bowl berth. Hixon (1,147 receiving yards and seven TDs), quarterback Luke Getsy (3,000 yards, 19 TDs) and running back Brett Biggs (1,184 yards, 10 TDs) make Akron one of only four teams to have a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver. The others: Miami (Ohio), Notre Dame and USC.
No matter how potent the Zips may be on offense, only one thing really matters when it comes to playing Memphis: Stopping the run. Akron is ranked 23rd nationally in total defense and 52nd against the run (143.4 yards per game), led by Jay Rohr (113 tackles). And they held Northern Illinois' Garrett Wolfe, the nation's leading rusher, to 52 yards in their first meeting.
Breaking down Memphis
The Tigers are all about DeAngelo Williams. Williams is third in the nation with 1,726 rushing yards, has scored 15 TDs and averages 6.2 yards a carry. He holds the NCAA record with 33 career 100-yard games. Playing on the Detroit Lions' home turf, he'll conjure up more than a few comparisons to another jaw-dropping No. 20 -- Barry Sanders.
Quarterback Maurice Avery is a double threat, with 724 yards passing and 532 rushing yards. If the Tigers are forced to resort to the pass, they're in trouble; they completed one pass for minus-three yards in the season finale against Marshall. But who needs a passing game when you've got DeAngelo?
Williams, who is fourth on the NCAA's all-time rushing list with 5,788 career yards, needs 294 to pass Tony Dorsett for third place. The chances of him pulling that off are slim, but consider this: After the Zips held Wolfe in check the first time around, he torched them for 270 in the MAC title game.