Special teams will play a crucial role in Saturday's rivalry game between
Kent State and Akron. With both offenses struggling to find any consistency,
field position will be at a premium.
Here's a look at Akron's special teams unit:
punter Zack Campbell has been solid for the Zips this season.
The Zips have used two kickoff specialists: Branko Rogovic and Igor Iveljic.
Rogovic has kicked off 18 times with two touchbacks and one kick that went
out of bounds. He averages 54.4 yards per kick. Iveljic has two kickoffs to
his credit, with an average of 61.5 yards.
Average starting field position for Akron opponents after a kickoff has been
the 32-yard line. The Zips allow an average of 20.6 yards per return.
Kent State's opponents have an average starting position at their own
27, while the Golden Flashes typically start at their own 28 following a kickoff.
Akron's primary kick returner is the speedy Jalil Carter, a
former safety turned wide receiver. Carter has 17 returns for 367 yards with
a long of 43 yards. He averages 21.6 yards per return.
Jeremy LaFrance has five returns for 102 yards with a long of 28
yards. He averages 20.4 yards per return.
Overall, the Zips are tied for eighth in the Mid-American Conference with
a 20.9-yard per kickoff return average and are second to last in kickoff coverage,
with a net kickoff of 37.7 yards.
Kent State's strategy has been to kick off high and short, limiting
any chance for a return. The Golden Flashes allow just 16.5 yards per attempt.
Kent State ranks fifth in the league with a 43.0-yard average on kickoffs and
second in the conference with a 25.7-yard kickoff return average.
The Golden Flashes have returned one kickoff for a touchdown. Akron has yet
to return one for a score.
Zack Campbell has punted 33 times for 1,237 yards, an average of
37.5 yards per kick. His long punt was 60 yards and he has had 12 land inside
the opponent's 20-yard line. Campbell has two punts of over 50 yards.
Akron's 36.5-yard net punting average ranks fifth in the MAC. The Zips
allow just 1.6 yards per return.
LaFrance is the only Zips player to return a punt. He has two attempts for
15 yards, a 7.5-yard per return average. The Golden Flashes have allowed 6.5
yards per return.
Iveljic has hit on 5-of-8 field goal chances and 9-of-10 extra points. He
has kicked six field goals of 40 yards or more, with a long of 48 yards in
an overtime loss to Gardner-Webb. He also missed a 34-yarder in that game.
His misses are from 34, 39, 48 and 51 yards.
Iveljic now has successfully kicked 38 field goals in his career.
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