Noah Coffman: Northwestern 17, Akron 9
If questionable turns to out for even two of Northwestern’s three iffy linemen, the Wildcats will almost certainly be significantly slowed moving the ball, even against Akron’s pedestrian front. Meanwhile, Kato Nelson will not be able to have ton of success sparking the Zips’ offense against Northwestern’s experienced defense. It’ll turn into a rock fight, but NU will come out on top.
Caleb Friedman: Northwestern 31, Akron 17
Davis Rich: Northwestern 24, Akron 13
Lia Assimakopoulos: Northwestern 30, Akron 13
The Zips will have no answer for Jeremy Larkin, and the Wildcat defense will dominate their inexperienced offense.
Martin Oppegaard: Northwestern 41, Akron 21
A statement game for Northwestern against a MAC opponent results in a similar outcome to one we saw in the same situation last season. Kato Nelson is a dual-threat QB but the Zips don’t deploy the run-pass option, at least not yet.
Joseph Weinberg: Northwestern 31, Akron 10
Northwestern’s capitalist offense will find consistency against Akron and gain some much needed confidence heading into the bye week before the ‘Cats welcome Jim Harbaugh and co. to Evanston for what is sure to be a big B1G showdown.
Talia Hendel: Northwestern 31, Akron 13
The offensive line injuries might hurt Northwestern’s offensive explosiveness in terms of deep passes. But the 5- to 10-yard routes have been fairly successful and I’d expect Thorson (and/or Green) to be able to connect with the wideouts and superbacks and put together longer drives through short plays. After last week’s performance, the defense will be hungry to prove themselves. The front seven should remain solid, and the younger defensive backs will have a bit more experience under their belts which should make for less holes in the safeties’ and corners’ coverage.
Avery Zimmerman: Northwestern 30, Akron 17
This is a good opportunity for Fitz to find out what he has this year. If the offense can’t find a rhythm this week, it’ll be nearly impossible to find one during the rest of a daunting schedule. This isn’t the flashiest game, but it’s massively important. Northwestern doesn’t dominate this game, but comfortably outlasts the Zips in the end.
Matthew Albert: Northwestern 28, Akron 17
Jeremy Larkin has another big day, as Northwestern impresses under the lights. Defense finds its footing and improves significantly. Offense finally starts to show its potential and Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman has a strong showing. This week I expect NU to continue the pitch count between Green and Thorson but expect Green to get more time.
Caleb Friedman, Davis Rich: 2-0
Noah Coffman: 0-2
Everyone else: 1-1