Akron begin the Tom Arth Era on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Champaign to take on an Illinois squad desperate to see improvement in Lovie Smith’s fourth season.
The game is scheduled to start at Noon ET and will be televised on Big Ten Network. If you don’t have cable or don’t have BTN, you can watch a live stream of the game on your computer, phone, Roku, Fire TV Stick or other streaming device via one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Big Ten Network is one of the 100-plus live TV channels included in the main FuboTV bundle, which is largely tailored towards sports. And in case the game gets moved to one of the Big Ten Network alternate channels (Howard vs Maryland is also on BTN at the same time), those are also included with FuboTV.
You can start a free seven-day trial of FuboTV right here, and you can then watch a live stream of Akron vs Illinois on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, or other supported device via the FuboTV app.
If you can’t watch live, FuboTV comes with 30 hours of cloud DVR space, as well as a 72-hour look-back feature, which will allow you to watch the game on-demand within three days of its conclusion, even if you don’t record it.
Hulu With Live TV comes with Hulu’s extensive on-demand library of TV shows and movies and 60-plus live TV channels, including Big Ten Network.
You can sign up for Hulu with Live TV right here, and you can then watch a live stream of Akron vs Illinois on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Echo Show, or other streaming device via the Hulu app.
If you can’t watch live, Hulu With Live TV comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR space, as well as the option to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of space and the ability to fast-forward through commercials.
YouTube TV comes with 70-plus live TV channels, including Big Ten Network.
You can sign up for YouTube TV right here, and you can then watch a live stream of Akron vs Illinois on your computer via the YouTube website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One or other compatible streaming device via the YouTube app.
If you can’t watch live, YouTube TV comes with included DVR.
Akron vs Illinois Preview
Akron struggled last season and limped to a 4-8 finish getting pulverized in MAC play. The offense, while uninspiring, returns a host of starters from last season and should be ready to take at least a small step forward. Factor in an offensive-minded new head coach in Tom Arth and you have the recipe for a unit that might actually be capable of turning a few heads this season. Keep an eye out on dual-threat quarterback Kato Nelson’s development under Arth given the fact that Arth himself played quarterback in the NFL.
Defensively, Akron is missing a number of familiar faces from last season. Specifically, they have some big shoes to fill at end after losing Ulysees Gilbert III. Given the fact that Akron is in somewhat of a transition year and the defense is without some of the few pieces that kept them respectable last year, don’t expect much improvement on that side of the ball in Arth’s inaugural season.
Lovie Smith and Illinois look to finally come through with a winning season on the heels of a 4-8 season. Returning star running back Reggie Corbin, the Fighting Illini will likely look to rely heavily on their ground game throughout the 2019 season. Corbin is running behind a cohesive and experienced offensive line with four starters from Corbin’s 1,000-yard season returning. The lone newcomer happens to be Richie Petitbon, a transfer from Alabama who has looked the part of a stud in camp so far. While Michigan transfer Brandon Peters presents a bit of an unknown under center, the rushing attack and sturdy offensive line should make things a bit easier on him.
Defensively, there really isn’t any room to go but up for an atrocious 2018 unit. The Illinois talent pipeline is now almost exclusively Lovie Smith recruits (entering Smith’s fourth season) and it should be interesting to see how the defense starts to take shape with some of his younger talented recruits stepping into the fold. While they shouldn’t make massive strides this year, the Illinois unit will almost certainly improve upon last year’s putrid campaign.
Both teams come into the matchup with a number of serious question marks but expect Illinois to establish some physical dominance early behind their quality offensive line and rushing attack. Akron’s defense doesn’t have much of an answer for Illinois and while it won’t be pretty, expect the Fighting Illini to methodically build out a strong lead over the Zips over the course of the game to notch a comfortable first win of the season.
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