(as reported by the Associated Press in early October 1996)
AKRON, Ohio -- Akron, a Mid-American Conference school looking
for exposure and money, will open its 1997 football season against
two-time defending national champion Nebraska.
Akron athletic director Mike Bobinski confirmed that the teams
would play Aug. 30 in Lincoln, Neb., in what would be the season
opener for both teams.
Akron is 1-5 and has been beaten by an average score of 32-13
in its losses. The fourth ranked Cornhuskers, from the Big 12, are 3-1.
Akron will receive $450,000 for the road game. Since moving up from
Division I-AA to I-A in 1987, the Zips have lost to national powers such
as Florida (59-0), Auburn (42-0), Tennessee (52-9), Kansas State (67-0)
and Virginia Tech (77-27).
"We believe that this does things program-wise that we couldn't get
done otherwise," Bobinski said. "It's a big deal to play Nebraska any
week, but it's good, I think, to open with them particularly."
One of the schools Nebraska had approached about filling one of its
open dates was Ohio State. The Buckeyes had one open date available
until filling it with Bowling Green last week. Missouri, which hosts
Ohio State on Sept. 27 in the 1997 season, was also interested in
getting out of its game with the Buckeyes.
"I don't think they could come to Lincoln," Nebraska coach Tom
Osborne said of Ohio State. "I don't think that's what they wanted
Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger said he turned down the
game, concerned that the Buckeyes' schedule would be overloaded.
"A television network asked us if we'd play Nebraska in Lincoln
instead of playing Missouri." Geiger said. "I declined that. We're at
Penn State the next week and will have eight new starters on defense
and several new ones on offense."