Infocision Stadium -- Akron, OH
By EVAN MEYER
It took the Akron Zips almost the entire 60 minutes of regulation, but they came back to defeat the Kent State Golden Flashes, 31-27, last Saturday. UA scored the winning touchdown with just 20 seconds remaining.
The win was the sixth straight for UA in Mid-American Conference play, dating back to last season. The Zips improved their mark to 3-2 overall while winning their MAC opener for the second time in the last three seasons.
Akron now returns to InfoCision Stadium for the first of two home games. The first is Saturday as Akron meets the Miami Redhawks in a homecoming tilt.
Miami makes the trip . . .
AKRON ZIPS (3-2, 1-0 MAC)
LAST TIME OUT: Last Saturday, the Zips defeated Kent State, 31-27, at Dix Stadium to retain possession of the Wagon Wheel Trophy for the second consecutive season. UA’s winning score came with 20 seconds remaining when junior RB Mykal Traylor-Bennett scored on a direct snap from three yards out. It was his second score of the game. Fellow junior QB Tra’Von Chapman, a game time starter for Thomas Woodson, completed 23-of-37 passes for a career high 237 yards and two touchdowns. Junior WR Austin Wolf had three receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Zips the lead. Sophomore RB Van Edwards led the rushing attack with 44 yards on eight carries. The defense was paced by sophomore LB Ulysses Gilbert, who had a career high 16 tackles (10 solo)
ZIPS SEASON TO DATE: The Zips went 2-2 in their non-conference schedule with a home win over Virginia Military to open the season and a road victory at Marshall. Their losses came on the road at nationally ranked Wisconsin and at home to Appalachian State.
OFFENSE: UA is averaging 38.2 points and 437.6 yards per game
RUSHING: Manny Morgan 41 carries – 230 yards
PASSING: Thomas Woodson 84-126-4 1247 yards 13 touchdowns
RECEIVING: Jerome Lane 30 receptions-503 yards three touchdowns
DEFENSE: The Zips are allowing 37.6 points and 508.4 yards per game
TACKLES: Ulysses Gilbert (31-24-55)
TACKLES FOR LOSSES: Gilbert 7-33 yards
SACKS: Gilbert & Jamal Marcus with two
INTERCEPTIONS: three with one (Guiser, Brown, Lloyd)
PASS BREAKUPS: Bryce Jones with three
PUNTING: Nick Gasser 20-38.9 average
PLACE KICKING: Tom O’ Leary 35 points (4-4 FG/ 23-26 PAT)
KICK RETURNS: Van Edwards 9-275
PUNT RETURNS: JoJo Natson 6-62 (TD)
ZIPS NOTES: UA is 8-2 in its last ten games overall and 3-1 in the last four games at InfoCision Stadium dating back to last season…Their six game winning streak inside the MAC is the best streak in conference play since 1976 when they were in the Division II Ohio Valley Confference (that team will honored as part of the Varsity A Hall of Fame ceremonies on Saturday)…LB Ulysses Gilbert was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week…Saturday’s win was UA’s first at Dix Stadium since 2008 and second straight over KSU for the first time since a three-game streak from 2007-09…UA won its first MAC opener on the road since 2004 (at Kent State)…PK Tom O’Leary’s 46-yard field goal in the fist quarter was the longest of his career…QB Tra’Von Chapman, in his second career start, won his first game (started in 2015 vs. Pittsbuirgh).
THE SERIES: The game is the 26th in the series, with the RedHawks holding a 16-8-1 advantage…UA has won the last three games in the series, including last year at Yager Stadium, 37-28…This is the 12th lifetime game in Akron, with MU holding a slim 6-5 edge and the fourth at Infocision Stadium. The 'Hawks claimed two of the first three
MIAMI REDHAWKS (0-5, 0-1 MAC):
LAST SATURDAY: Miami fell to 0-5 on the season, losing a heartbreaker to their arch rival, the Ohio Bobcats, 17-7, in the annual ‘Battle of the Bricks’ at Yager Stadium. The game was a defensive battle as the MU defense turned in its best game of the season. Miami held the high-powered Ohio offense to just 197 yards of total offense, of which just 56 came through the air. Freshman QB Noah Wezensky led MU to its only points with a third quarter 17-yard pass to junior TE Ryan Smith. The ‘Cats then sealed the game with a fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown with 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. Wezensky completed 14-of-15 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. Smith and sophomore WR James Gardner led the receivers with four catches each, while the defense was led by CB Heath Harding with nine total tackles ( six solo)
MIAMI SEASON TO DATE: The Redhawks are winless on the season at 0-5, although over their last four games, the margin was a combined 21 points. The losses were at Iowa, at Cincinnati in the annual battle fo the Victory Bell, and at home to Eastern Illinois, Western Kentucky, and Ohio.
OFFENSE; Miami is averaging 17.8 points & 360.2 yards per game
RUSHING: Alonzo Smith 74-268 one touchdown
PASSING: Billy Bahl 69-125-4 1154 yds. 8 touchdowns
RECEIVING: James Gardner 22-387 five touchdowns
DEFENSE: The Redhawks are allowing 28.2 points & 356.4 yards oer game
TOTAL TACKLES: Tony Reid
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Three (Harding, Koenig, Jones) with four
SACKS: Gearing & Jones with 2 ½
INTERCEPTIONS: Harding & Montgomery with two
PUNTING: Josh Martin 24 – 38.1 avg. per kick
PLACE KICKING: Nick Dowd 18 points (3-4 FG / 9-9 PAT)
KICK RETURNS: Maurice Thomas 10-25.7 yds per return
PUNT RETURNS: Jared Murphy 2-0
MU NOTES: Miami has lost 15 of its last 16 games, dating back to last season…MU has outgained the opposition in four of the five games so far in 2016…The Hawks have won the turnover battle twice so far this season…MU has had the ball for over 35 minutes in time of possession three times so far this season. ... One of Miami's issues in recent losses has been penalties. Te RedHawks drew 10 flags for 99 yards last week and also was -3 in turnovers for the game. Whether it will be Bahl or Wezensky at quarterback Saturday may well be a game-time decision. The RedHawks have also been missing several starter among receivers. Chris Hudson is gone for the season and Rokeem Williams looks unlikely again this week.