Zips still looking for their second win of season

Written by: D.J. Johnson

The Akron Zips found themselves in a familiar position on Saturday afternoon. They were down one score late in the fourth quarter.

Trailing Ohio 34-28 with under two minutes to go, a Zips onside kick went out of bounds, killing any chance of a comeback.

“It was too little, too late,” said head coach Terry Bowden.

Trailing 34-14 after three quarters, it appeared that the Zips (1-6, 0-3 MAC) were headed for their first blowout loss since week one. By the end of the game, it took everything from the Bobcats (7-0, 3-0 MAC) to stay undefeated.

The fourth-quarter comeback started with an 11-play, 70-yard drive capped off by a six-yard touchdown pass from Dalton Williams to Jerrod Dillard. The score was 34-21 with 8:48 to go.

The Williams and Dillard connection would strike again at 1:55, this time from five yards out. The late surge from the offense would come up just short.

“Now it’s time to look back and say ‘Let’s go see where we can mature as a team,’ and do those little things that a winning team does,” Bowden said.

It seemed as if a win was not in the discussion in the first half, as the Zips found themselves down 20-0 with under a minute to play.

An Ohio field goal with 44 seconds remaining left little room for Akron to get on the board before heading to the locker room. Four plays, 75 yards and 28 seconds later, wide out L.T. Smith found himself in the end zone on a 19-yard pass from Williams.

The score was 20-7 at the half.

The Zips kept their offensive momentum going in the second half, scoring on the opening drive. Williams found running back Tyler Williams on a 10-yard pass to make it 20-14 ballgame with 11:56 left in the third quarter.

Ohio would respond with two touchdowns of their own in the last four minutes of the quarter. The three-possession lead proved to be too big of a hill for the Zips to climb.

“(Ohio) plays like a team that’s learned how to win,” Bowden said.

As they have for much of the season, the Zips got much of their support from their quarterback. Williams finished 32-of-53 for 298 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Running back Jawon Chisholm pumped out another impressive afternoon, rushing for his third consecutive performance of 100-plus yards. He finished with 28 carries for 177 yards.

“He is just a relentless running back who will not be denied,” Bowden said. “He gives a superhuman effort every day in practice.”

The Zips will spend the week prepping for Northern Illinois (6-1, 3-0 MAC). The two teams will kick off Saturday at noon at InfoCision Stadium.