After a stretch of losing three of four games, the Akron Zips have won two straight games to even their record at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in Mid-American Conference play. Last Saturday at Miami, UA built a 34-7 lead early in the third quarter only to see the RedHawks chip away, getting to within six points early in the fourth quarter before holding on for their fourth win on the road this season 37-28.
The Akron Blue and Gold return this Saturday to InfoCision Stadium, where they are only 1-3 overall and 0-2 in MAC play. They host the Buffalo Bulls, who are also at 5-5 and 3-3 inside the conference. The winner becomes bowl eligible.
LAST TIME OUT:
The Zips completed the road portion of the 2015 schedule last Saturday as they traveled to Yager Stadium in Oxford and defeated the Miami RedHawks 37-28. The Zips built a 34-7 lead early in the third quarter, only to see the home standing Hawks make the game interesting by closing to within six points at 34-28 early in the fourth quarter. UA, however, got a career-best 50-yard field goal from senior PK Robert Stein with 2:45 remaining to put the game out of reach.
Senior RB Conor Hundley rushed for 110 yards on 21 carries and scored three touchdowns. Sophomore QB Thomas Woodson completed 13-of-28 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown -- a 32 yarder to sophomore Jerome Lane. Senior WR Imani Davis led the receivers with seven catches for 64 yards.
Defensively, senior LB Jatavis Brown had 11 total tackles (seven solo) with two sacks, four tackles for losses a forced fumble, an interception and a pass breakup. Overall the defensive 11 had three sacks, eight TFL’s, two forced fumbles, two interceptions and five pass breakups
THE SEASON SO FAR:
The Zips opened the 2015 season losing to nationally ranked Oklahoma 41-3 on September 5th …Then, in the home opener September 12, they fell to the Pittsburgh Panthers 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.
UA opened MAC play on October 3rd with a 14-12 home loss to Ohio… Akron then rebounded with a 47-21 win at Eastern Michigan. Two losses followed -- a 59-10 beat down at Bowling Green and a 14-6 decision against Central Michigan.
The Zips ended their losing streak with a win against UMass at Foxboro…The win at Miami last Saturday was UA’s fourth away from home in 2015 ending with a 4-2 mark…After this Saturday’s game against UB, the Zips finish the regular season on Friday November 27th with a noon kickoff against arch rival Kent State and the battle for the Wagon Wheel Trophy.
OFFENSE: UA is averaging 22.6 points and 352.5 yards per game
RUSHING: Conor Hundley 157 carries-761 yards nine touchdowns
PASSING: Thomas Woodson 120-229-10 1636 yards 11 touchdowns
RECEIVING: Imani Davis 39 receptions-475 yards two touchdowns
DEFENSE: The Zips are allowing 23.7 points and 341.5 yards per game
TACKLES: LB Jatavis Brown (45 solo-43 assists-88 total)
TACKLES FOR LOSSES: Brown 16-93 yards
SACKS: Brown 10 ½ - 80 yards
INTERCEPTIONS: CB DeAndre Scott 6-14
PASS BREAKUPS: Scott 8
PUNTING: Zach Paul 61-40.9 yards per kick (11 kicks 50 or more yards)
PLACE KICKING: Robert Stein 10-16 FG/26-28 PAT
KICK RETURNS: Van Edwards (KR) 17-21.6 yds avg A.J. Coney (PR) 12-4.7
LB Jatavis Brown was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week for his performance last week at Miami…PK Robert Stein’s 50 yard field goal late in the fourth quarter at MU was the longest of his career…Stein’s 244 career points puts him fourth on the all-time scoring list overall and second among kickers…RB Conor Hundley set a career record with three rushing touchdowns collected his fourth career 100-yard rushing game and is 12th on UA’s all-time rushing list with 2,005 yards..UA’s defense is ranked third in the Football Bowl Subdivision, yielding 93.7 yards per game…DB DeAndre Scott is ranked third in the FBS with six interceptions.
The game is the 15th in the series, with the Zips holding a 9-5 advantage although the Bulls have won the last two and five of the last six…This is the seventh lifetime game in Akron, with the Zips holding a 5-1 edge (UB’s only win (43-40) came in 2008 in four overtimes. It was the final game at the Rubber Bowl… This is just the second UB-UA matchup at InfoCision Stadium with UA previously picking up a 22-14 victory…Last season at UB Stadium in Amherst, the Bulls collected a 55-24 victory, gaining 536 yards of total offense…Both RB Anthone Taylor (178) and Jordan Johnson (104) each rushed for over 100 yards..UA managed just 229 yards of total offense.
BUFFALO BULLS (5-5, 3-3 MAC EAST)
LAST TIME OUT;
Buffalo was last in action on Wednesday, November 11 when the Bulls saw their three-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Northern Illinois Huskies, 41-30, at UB Stadium. NIU built a 31-3 lead early in the third quarter, only to see the Bulls make a comeback that came up short. NIU won the game on the strength of its ground attack, amassing 334 of their 524 total offensive yards via the rush. For Buffalo, QB Joe Licata completed 31-of-47 passes for 354 yards and two touchdowns. WR Ron Willoughby had six catches for 101 yards. RB Jordan Johnson posted 66 yards rushing. Defensively, LB Nick Gilbo had 19 total tackles (11 solo) along with a pass breakup
THE SEASON SO FAR:
This is the first season for head coach Lance Leopold at UB after tremendous success at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater. The season opened with a home victory over FCS opponent Albany. After a loss at Penn State, the Bulls rebounded with a win at Florida Atlantic before dropping three straight games to Nevada and Bowling Green at home and Central Michigan away. They righted their ship with three straight wins: 41-17 at home over Ohio then road wins at Miami (29-24) and at Kent State (18-17) before the skein ended against NIU…UB ends the regular season late Friday afternoon at home against Massachusetts in the Minutemen’s final game as a football-only member of the MAC
OFFENSE: UB is averaging 27.3 points & 379.8 yards per game
RUSHING: Jordan Johnson 143 carries-701 yards nine touchdowns
PASSING: Joe Licata 229-358-11 2420 yards 14 touchdowns
RECEIVING: Matt Weiser 53 receptions-514 yards two touchdowns
DEFENSE: The Bulls are allowing 25.8 points & 402.2 yards per game
TACKLES: Nick Gilbo (57-38-95)
TFL: Brandon Berry 11-50 yards
SACKS: Okezie Alozie 5-34
INTERCEPTIONS: three with two
PUNTING: Tyler Grassman 52-41.4 yds avg per kick
PLACE KICKING: Adam Mitcheson 11-17 FG/ 26-31 PAT
KICK RETURNS: Devin Campbell (KR) 9-15.0/Collin Lisa (PR)7-3.9
During the NIU game, QB Joe Licata became the Bulls all-time leading passer, currently he has 8,936 yards…Also in the game, P Tyler Grassman moved into second place on UB’s all-time punting yardage chart with 9,860 yards…WR Ron Willoughby is tied for ninth on the all-time touchdown receptions list with 15…RB Jordan Johnson has six touchdowns in his last four games…Head Coach Lance Leopold is the first coach in school history to win five games his inaugural season since Bob Deming in 1969 (6-3)…UB defense leads the FBS with seven defensive touchdowns so far this season (including Cameron Lewis’ 68 yard interception return against NIU)…current Bulls Associate Head coach & Wide Receivers coach Rob Ianello former head coach at UA from 2010-12…a win in their final two games would make the Bulls bowl eligible for just the third time in program history and a win Saturday at UB would mark their fourth road triumph the most since joining Division I-A/FBS.