AKRON, OH -- A late Zips rally fell short Saturday as Akron fell to the Appalachian State, 45-38, Saturday at InforCision Stadium. The visiting Mountaineers and led 38-17 midway through the third period.
Akron (2-2) saw its three-game winning streak, dating back to last season, come to an end in the first ever meeting between the two schools.
“It is a frustrating loss.” Zips head coach Terry Bowden said. “I am . . .
Appalachian State (2-2) bounced back after losing at home last week to nationally ranked Miami (FLA) and picked up its first-ever win against a Mid-American Conference opponent in regular season play.
Offense -- and plenty of it -- prevailed on a sun-splashed day.
The visitors from the Sun Belt Conference jumped on top quickly by taking advantage of an Akron turnover. Clifton Duck picked off a Thomas Woodson pass on the third play from scrimmage. ASU then drove 64 yards in 10 plays, capping the trip off with Deltron Hopkins six-yard reception from Taylor Lamb. Appalachian State added three more points before the end of the quarter.
UA dented the scoreboard in the second quarter as Woodson engineered a four-play, 75-yard drive, capped off with a 14-yard pass over the middle to junior WR Jerome Lane. That narrowed the margin to 10-7. Lane would have another solid game with nine catches for 134 yards and the score.
On ASU’s possession after the touchdown, fifth year senior LB Jamal Marcus recovered a fumble at App State 32. Woodson guided the team six plays for a touchdown and UA’s only lead of the game as he found fourth-year juniot A.J. Coney on a bubble screen pass for 23 yards and a 14-10 lead.
The rest of the second period belonged to the Mountaineers. Lamb engineered scoring drives of 72, 42, and 93 yards. Two long touchdown throws (36, 37) and a one-yard Lamb run on an option finished the drives. The visitors led 31-14 at halftime.
The Zips scored first after intermission with a 26-yard field goal by junior PK Tom O’ Leary. Appalachian State responded with a 72-yard drive in only four plays. RB Jalin Moore busted through the line and went untouched 49 yards for a touchdown and a 38-17 advantage -- their largest of the game.
The UA defense had no answer in stopping Moore, who came into the game as one of active rushing leaders in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The sophomore gained 257 yards on 39 carries and pair of scores.
Midway through the third stanza, the Zips started their comeback as the offense put together a 10-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with sophomore RB van Edwards finding the end zone from six-yards out. Edwards was making his first collegiate start and gained 89 yards on seven carries and the score.
Akron inched closer at the start of the fourth quarter as a seven-play 61-yard drive was capped by Woodson finding fifth-year senior WR JoJo Natson on a fade route in the back left corner of the end zone to make the score 38-31.
Woodson finished the day completing 31-of-34 passes for 353 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions -- both of which led to Mountaineer touchdowns. Natson led the Zips with 10 receptions for 87 yards.
The Zips countered that score quickly with a six-play, 65-yard drive that reached the ASU one yard line. It was fourth down when junior RB Mykel Traylor-Bennett took a direct snap and scored from one yard out to make the score 45-38.
The Mountaineers then put together a drive that ate up almost three minutes of the clock while gaining four first downs. When UA got the ball back after a punt, it was on their own 20 with 2:12 remaining and no time outs. They turned the ball over on downs, and Appalachian State had the victory.
The two teams scored a combined 83 points and registered 1,073 yards of total offense (587 by ASU – 486 by UA).
The Zips begin Mid-American Conference play next Saturday as they make the short trek to Dix Stadium in Kent for their annual battle with the Golden Flashes for possession of the Wagon Wheel Trophy.
KSU will go into the game with a 1-3 record after losing at defending National Champion and top ranked Alabama 48-0.