Austin Whipple, a redshirt freshman, drew his first collegiate start for the Minutemen in place of an injured Blake Frohnapfel. Whipple finished the day going 12-for-20 for 157 yards. He had one touchdown and three interceptions.
The game was played in frigid temperatures reaching sub-zero degrees with the wind chill.
Along with Pohl's passing performance, Akron (5-6, 3-4 MAC) was also led on the ground by Jawon Chisholm, who had 78 yards rushing. Pohl's top receiver was Zach D'Orazzio. The junior had 121 yards on 10 catches – both career highs.
Overall, the Akron defense held UMass to 67 yards rushing and 168 yards passing. Junior LB Jatavis Brown led the Zips “D” with a team-high nine total tackles. Brown was followed by senior LB Justin March with eight, including seven solo stops.
UMass (3-8, 3-4 MAC) was led in rushing by Shadrach Abrokwah's 50 yards. Tajae Sharpe had five receptions for 41 yards. Jean Sifrin recorded the Minutemen's lone touchdown giving him a team-best six for the season.
In the first quarter, Akron got on the board by scoring on back-to-back possessions, jumping out to a 10-0 lead by the 2:37 mark. Junior PK Robert Stein split the uprights from 26 yards out to give Akron a 3-0 edge before Pohl connected on a seven-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver L.T. Smith III. The completion capped off a five-play, 49-yard scoring drive.
After a 24-yard field goal from Stein increased Akron's lead to 13-0, the Zips recorded a pair of interceptions -- on successive UMass possessions -- by senior safety Martel Durant and senior safety Devonte Morgan. Morgan returned his first career interception to the UMass 29, setting up a 12-yard TD pass to RB Conor Hundley for a 20-0 Zips lead with 25 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Morgan also picked up his first career fumble recovery.
Akron carried the 20-0 lead into the locker room at the half.
Stanley Andre recovered an Akron fumble to halt the Zips opening drive of the third quarter, and UMass nearly took it to the house one play later when Whipple hit Mills on a 72-yard pass play. Whipple’s one-yard pass to Jean Sifrin on the next play provided the visitors with their only score of the night at 12:06. The PAT failed, and Akron held a 20-6 advantage.
The Zips added seven more later in the third period when Hundley ran it in on a 12-yard carry for his second touchdown of the night. A Stein field goal at the 3:40 mark in the final quarter iced the game at 30-6.
The Zips travel to take on crosstown rival Kent State in the last regular-season game of the 2014 slate on Tuesday, Nov. 25. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. (ET). UMass wraps up its campaign by hosting Buffalo at 1 p.m. (ET) on Friday, Nov. 28.
(Courtesy UMass and Akron Athletics/MRO Edit)