Poetic, isn’t it?
Just one of Nebraska’s 1,313 all-time games has been against Akron.
So of course it was the start of the 1997 season, when Scott Frost and company began their march to an undefeated national championship year.
Nebraska never left a doubt in that game, winning 59-14, but the standards were so high at that point that there was still criticism.
“Nebraska’s Blackshirts wore red faces after Saturday’s 59-14 victory over Akron,” the late Steven Pivovar wrote in the Aug. 31, 1997, edition of The World-Herald. “Two second-half touchdowns by the Zips, well after the game had been decided, took much of the joy out of the season-opening victory for the Husker defenders.”
The Huskers, ranked No. 6 going into the game, compiled 644 yards with an average of 8.6 yards per play. After missing a field goal on its opening series, NU scored on nine consecutive possessions to put the game away.
There aren’t many ties between the two schools — Akron has no players from states bordering Nebraska, let alone within the Cornhusker state’s boundaries. The Huskers have two players from Ohio — sophomore defensive back Tony Butler (Lakewood) and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Matt Sichterman(Cincinnati). Neither had a scholarship offer from Akron according to 247Sports.
The Zips are one of four MAC schools to play the Huskers and will be the second, along with Northern Illinois, to face Nebraska at least twice. The Huskers hold a 5-1 record against MAC schools.
Along with the lone victory over Akron, the Huskers are 2-1 against Northern Illinois, and 1-0 when facing both Western Michigan and Ball State. The combined score of those games is 231-90, or an average of 38.5-15.
Akron is 1-29 all time against Big Ten schools. The one victory? The Zips won 12-6 over Ohio State in 1894. Minnesota and Northwestern are the only two current Big Ten schools that Akron has yet to face.
The Zips are 0-1 against Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska and Rutgers. They have also played Indiana (0-3), Michigan State (0-2), Ohio State (1-7), Penn State (0-6), Purdue (0-2) and Wisconsin (0-3).
» Nebraska is 96-27-5 all time in season-opening games.
» Nebraska defensive line coach Mike Dawson got his first full-time FBS job with Akron, coaching the Zips’ linebackers from 2006 to 2008.
» Nebraska is set to face several MAC schools in the upcoming years. They play Northern Illinois in 2019, 2021 and 2023, Central Michigan in 2020 and Buffalo in 2021. You can see all the upcoming schedules here.