Some folks may react unfavorably about the move to InfoCision Stadium from the classic Rubber Bowl that hosted Zips games since 1940. However, the venerable old stadium required much repair, and the dream of a brand new facility on campus drew closer to reality. In 2009, Akron opened InfoCision Stadium and parked it right amongst the hotspots in campus. The excitement for this new arena certainly had justification. It towers high off the main strips in campus. Akron University has fallen into the rat race for the newer and better when it comes to stadiums. However, InfoCision Stadium, other than its name, has clung to many traditional aspects of what a college football atmosphere is all about.
Coming off their first bowl victory, Appalachian State appeared fit to be in the FBS and primed to return to bowl season. Akron was also coming off of a successful bowl victory, and a victory over the Mountaineers would certainly keep them on pace to return.
Finally, it paid off. Wisconsin’s insistence on scheduling a high profile opening game reaped some benefits. After falling short to LSU in 2014 and Alabama in 2015, the Badgers chalked up a victory in the highly anticipated rematch against LSU at historic Lambeau Field. Underdog status be damned. The Badgers are for real.
A new stadium just christened last week with a victory and a Big Ten team coming in this week has injected new life into an Akron program that could use a lift. It appeared that any kinks in the new setting have been ironed out. The Akron band marched in the main quad toward the stadium and stopped to salute the fans with the fight song and other festive tunes.
Akron and Kent State lie only ten miles apart which makes for a heated rivalry between the two. However, with struggling seasons, attendance numbers were not exactly exploding off the charts, but the enthusiasm for winning the Wagon Wheel Trophy is as real as any trophy rivalry across the country…
Early season stumbles against lesser opposition have been a trademark for Wisconsin football the past few years. Generally, these blunders occur in the non-conference portion of the schedule. Teams like Akron are supposed to be the recipients of brutal domination on the scoreboard. Games like this are supposed to instill confidence in players and fans that their team is headed for mountains of success. However, the Zips didn’t come to Madison to sightsee. Akron had an upset plan brewing in their pockets and they almost pulled it off.