Yager Stadium: Oxford, Ohio
American Sports Network/ESPN3
By EVAN MEYER
Last Saturday at Massachusetts, the Akron Zips came back from a 13-7 halftime deficit, scoring the go-ahead touchdown midway through the third quarter and then handed the game to the defense. That unit shut out the Minutemen and held their high-powered offense to just 100 total yards over the final 30 minutes of action.
The victory ended a two-game losing streak for Akron and marked the Zips third road win this season. UA could get back to the .500 mark Saturday with yet another road win as it travels to Oxford to face Miami. The RedRedHawks, who have fared better – win or lose -- in their home tilts, ended an eight-game losing skid with a home victory over Eastern Michigan last Saturday.
Here’s more on the two teams:
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(4-5, 2-3 MAC EAST)
LAST TIME OUT:
The Zips ended their two-game losing streak last Saturday when they traveled to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro and defeated the Massachusetts Minutemen 17-13. UA fell behind 13-7 at halftime. However on their first possession of the third quarter sophomore QB Thomas Woodson put together a 10-play 73-yard drive when he scampered 15 yards for the touchdown to give the Zips the lead for good. Late in the fourth quarter, senior PK Robert Stein added a 36-yard field goal for the winning magin of four points.
The day belonged to the UA defense as it held the high-powered UMass attack to just 261 total yards (100 coming in the second half and only 30 feet in the third quarter). In addition, the Zips recorded two sacks, seven tackles for losses, a forced fumble, two interceptions and nine pass breakups.
Senior LB Dylan Evans and Jatavis Brown each had 11 tackles each. Offensively, Woodson completed 15-of-27 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown (a 27-yarder to Austin Wolf in the second quarter) as well as his rushing touchdown. Senior RB Conor Hundley led the ground game with 92 yards on 23 carries. Sophomore WR Jerome Lane paced the receivers with four receptions for 56 yards.
ON THE YEAR:
The Zips opened the 2015 season losing to nationally ranked Oklahoma 41-3 …Then in the home opener September 12, they fell to the Pittsburgh Panthers in the home opener, 24-7. UA collected its first victory of the season in a 52-9 rout of FCS member Savannah State at home before defeating the Rajun Cajuns of Louisiana (Sun Belt), 35-14. Akron opened MAC play on October 3rd with a 14-12 home loss to Ohio…It then rebounded with a 47-21 win at Eastern Michigan before a 59-10 thrashing at Bowling Green… A 14-6 loss on Halloween to Central Michigan followed, The Zips ended the losing streak with last Saturday’s win in Foxboro…The game at Miami is the final road game for UA as it completes the regular season at home with games against Buffalo and the annual battle for the Wagon Wheel against Kent State
OFFENSE: UA is averaging 21 points and 345.7 yards per game
RUSHING: Conor Hundley 136 carries-669 yards six touchdowns
PASSING: Thomas Woodson 107-201-8 1415 yards 10 touchdowns
RECEIVING: Imani Davis 32 receptions-411 yards two touchdowns
DEFENSE: The Zips are allowing 23.2 points and 336.8 yards per game
TACKLES: LB Dylan Evans (48 solo-31 assists-79 total)
TACKLES FOR LOSSES: LB Jatavis Brown 11.5-68 yards
SACKS: Brown 8 ½ - 60 yards
INTERCEPTIONS: CB DeAndre Scott 5-13
PASS BREAKUPS: Evans & Scott 6
PUNTING: Zach Paul 56-40.9 yards per kick (10 kicks 50 or more yards)
PLACE KICKING: Robert Stein 9-14 FG/22-23 PAT
KICK RETURNS: Van Edwards (KR) 17-21.6 yds avg., A.J. Coney (PR) 11-5.1
For the second consecutive week, the Zips defense held one of the top quarterbacks in the MAC to under 300 yards passing (Blake Frohnapfel-UMass 173 & Cooper Rush-CMU 226)…WR Austin Wolf’s second quarter touchdown reception was his first of the season and second of his career…WR A.J. Coney had a career high with three receptions against the Minutemen…CB DeAndre Scott’s interception late in the fourth quarter was his fifth of the season and eighth of his career…It was the second consecutive game and fifth time this season (third in MAC play) that the Zips defense has held the opposition to under 300 yards in total offense
(2-8, 1-5 MAC EAST)
LAST TIME OUT;
Last Saturday, the RedHawks tasted victory for the first time since the opening game of the season as they defeated the Eastern Michigan Eagles, 28-13, at Yager Stadium to end an eight-game losing streak. Miami effectively used the ground game, gaining 291 yards. Alonzo Smith carried the ball 20 times for 93 yards and contributed a one-yard touchdown in the second quarter. QB Billy Bahl completed 10-of-14 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown with WR Jared Murphy. He led Miami receivers with seven catches for 91 yards and two scores. The RedHawks defense, meanwhile, was stellar, holding EMU to just 192 yards of total offense. DE Bryson Albright had nine total tackles (eight solo) with three sacks and 5.5 TFL. JT Jones set a new Miami individual record with four sacks and the defense totaled nine sacks for a new team mark.
ON THE YEAR:
Miami opened the 2015 season with a home win over FCS opponent Presbyterian. A losing streak of eight consecutive games included setbacks to both of their arch rivals (Cincinnati at home in the battle for the Victory Bell and Ohio in the Battle of the Bricks)… Miami opened MAC play with a close game at Kent State. After falling behind 20-0, MU scored two fourth quarter TDs and was driving before an interception ended the late rally. Northern Illinois handed Miami its only lopsided home loss, 45-12, but MU played better in a 35-13 loss at Western Michigan the following week. A narrow five-point home loss to Buffalo (29-24) preceded the win over Eastern Michigan. Saturday’s game against the Zips is MU’s final home game of the season. The RedHawks will close their campaign a week later at Foxboro against Massachusetts in the Minutemen’s final game as an football-playing member of the MAC.
OFFENSE: Miami is averaging 16.7 points & 337.5 yards per game
RUSHING: Alonzo Smith 91 carries-383 yards four touchdowns
PASSING: Billy Bahl 75-172-11 1043 yards 5 touchdowns
RECEIVING: Sam Martin 28 receptions-541 yards twop touchdowns
DEFENSE: The RedRedHawks are allowing 33.4 points & 419.1 yards per game
TACKLES: LB Kent Kern (39-36-75)
TFL: DE JT Jones 11 ½-60 yards
SACKS: Jones 7 ½ - 48 yards
INTERCEPTIONS: S Brison Burris 3-23 yards
PUNTING: Christian Koch 69-33.7 avg per kick
PLACE KICKING: Kaleb Patterson 6-9 FG/ 16-18 PAT
KICK RETURNS: Maurice Tnomas (KR) 21-18.6/Fred McRae (PR) 4-6
The game is the home finale for MU as they will honor 12 seniors playing their final home game… The RedHawks rushed for a season high 291 yards against EMU…QB Billy Bahl picked up his first win as a starter against EMU. It was his fifth collegiate start…Bahl, who early in the year, has just two interceptions in his last 109 pass attempts…RB Maurice Thomas’ 77-yard run was the longest by Miami so far this season…In 2014, Paul Moses was a fullback. In 2015, he switched to defense (linebacker) and is second on the team in tackles with 66. He is fourth in tackles for losses with six and has three sacks.