AKRON--As the sun comes up on the University of Akron campus, the Zips football team is already hard at work. They are gearing up for a trip to the Sunshine State this weekend.
“Super excited,” said Brian Reinke from Copley. “First of all for the opportunity to play another game because no one wants to see the season end early or anything like that, but to go to a warm weather place like Boca that’s like the best reward ever.”
The Zips will face Lane Kiffin's Florida Atlantic University team in the Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday, December 19th. It will be a virtual home game for the Owls.
“We are getting their pace of the speed down pat so, I think going into the game the only challenge will be to just get lined up and playing fast and matching their speed of the game,” said Jamal Davis of Canton.
The Zips are making their second trip to a bowl game in the last three years, but bowl games are nothing new for their head coach Terry Bowden, in fact he has a little recipe for success, he's 3-1 in those postseason games.
“Something that my father has about 36 or 38 Bowl (appearances) and he was probably the expert at winning bowl games, one of those things that he kind of told his sons is that you better get your bowl practice in before you go to fun weather,” said Zips head coach, Terry Bowden.
The Zips have come a long way since Bowden took over in 2012. This past season they won the MAC East Division title and played in the MAC Championship game for the first time since 2005.
“Before I came here, 0-11, and you know people don’t really think of Akron as a big time football school coming out of that record and to see us how we progress the past couple of years it’s been amazing and a cool journey to watch,” said Michael Buddenberg of Massillon.
Akron is one win away from their second 8-win season in three years. The last 8-win season prior to that was in 1985.