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Cleveland.com – by Elton Alexander
CLEVELAND, Ohio – It’s official. Akron’s makeup game with Nebraska will not happen. The Cornhuskers announced Thursday they have replaced Akron Zips with an Oct. 27 game against Bethune-Cookman, an FCS team.
That leaves Akron scrambling to find a replacement game, most likely to be played in December.
The Zips’ season opener Sept. 1 at Nebraska was postponed due to lightning following several delays just after the game began. When no arrangements could be made satisfactorily to play the following day, the Zips returned to Akron, but without a check.
“We showed up, we kicked off, we played,” Akron AD Larry Williams said Thursday night.
Since then, Nebraska has shied away from paying Akron the $1.17-million due from the contract.
“That’s all in the hands of the lawyers now,” Williams said.
Nebraska will pay Bethune-Cookman $800,000. Nebraska AD Bill Moos told the Omaha World-Herald he is willing to cover Akron’s expenses for making the trip to Lincoln. “We have to find a number,” Moos said.
There was initially talk of the two teams playing at the end of the regular season, in December, if one or both teams could need a victory to become bowl eligible. But that is now off the table.
Scott Frost, first-year coach for the now 0-2 Huskers, said the December date was bad considering Nebraska expected to be playing in the Big Ten championship game.
Williams sees it differently.
“They didn’t want to compete at our level,” he said.
The Zips are undefeated (2-0) are coming off a 39-34 victory over Northwestern, also a member of the Big Ten. And this week will play at Iowa State (0-2) from the Big 12 Conference.
Still, the Nebraska game is what the Zips wanted to play, for the national exposure as well as the opportunity and belief they could pull the upset.
“Severe disappointment,” Williams said.