AKRON, OHIO – With the victory over Utah State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last December still fresh in their memory, the Akron Zips finished spring practice Saturday with their annual spring game at InfoCision Stadium.
The game matched up the Blue team, consisting of the first team offense and defense, against the White team ,which had the second team offense and defense. The blue team picked up a 20-17 victory on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
“Going into the game, we know the players at their positions, but we wanted to see . .
Junior quarterback Thomas Woodson led the blue team to three scores -- a pair of field goals and a 14-yard touchdown pass to fourth year junior WR AJ Coney. Woodson played the first half completing 13-of-31 passes for 196 yards.
Fifth year senior JoJoNatson led the recievers with seven catches for 101 yards, while sophomore Kwadamus Smith had nine receptions for 140 yards.
Defensively, redshirt freshman linebacker John Lako had four tackles (also solo) including a sack.
Junior cornerback Mikee Hayes also had four solo stops and three pass breakups. Overall, the defense had three sacks, five tackles for losses and four pass breakups.
For the white team, junior Tra’Von Chapman completed 18 of 34 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns. Two went to Smith and one to Franshon Bickley to start the third quarter which proved to the winning margin.
Junior Kevin Gladney had five receptions for 59 yards to lead the pass catchers. In the game 14 players caught at least one pass (seven aside).
On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III had nine tackles (five solo). The defense for the white team also had three sacks with six tackles for losses and four pass breakups.
Activities of the day also incldued punting and place kicking in the game. However there was no rush on either the punter or kicker, as well as no tackling of the returners. In the place kicking battle, sophomore Tom O’ Leary made a pair of field goals both from 32 yards while junior Zach Gingerich was one of two connecting from 38 yards out while missing a 39 yarder that hit the upright.
Punting chores were handled by sophomore Nick Gasser, who had nine punts in the game and averaged 34.9 yards per kick.
Overall, Bowden enjoyed the day and was also pleased that there were no injuries in the game.
“Ones against ones, twos against two -- , you're going to see your best playing your best. To be honest, it's been offense one day and defense on another.” Bowden said. “The offense has had two really good scrimmages, but I thought the defensive backs out-played the wide receivers and the quarterbacks (today).
"When I looked at my first team, we saw a lot better defensive play than offensive play. I think Tra'Von Chapman's stock went up today. Given the opportunity, he showed he can take this team and get the ball to the great wide receivers. "
The next time we see Akron will be September 3rd at home against FCS member Virginia Military