Fifth time's a charm

Written by: D.J. Johnson

The Akron football program has seen only one win over the past seven weeks. But for head coach Terry Bowden, becoming a winning team is a step-by-step process.

Though their record may not show it, the first-year head coach is confident in his team’s progress.

“We don’t have to ask these guys if they’ll play 60 minutes,” Bowden said. “For us, that was the first step we had to take.”

The Zips will look to take the next step in the process, by finishing the 60 minutes with a win, when they line up across from Northern Illinois (6-1, 3-0 MAC) on Saturday afternoon.

After Akron lost its fourth consecutive game, a 34-28 loss to Ohio, the Huskies earned their sixth straight win in a 45-3 win over Buffalo last Saturday.

NIU’s lone loss came week one in an 18-17 thriller with Iowa. Since then, they have not scored fewer than 30 points in a single game, and are winning by more than 20 points per contest.

The Zips’ spirited effort at a comeback in Athens came up short.

“Losing is a lot more tiring than winning,” Bowden said. “We are searching for something else that might help us.”

The head coach will be looking for anything to stop the Mid-American Conference’s most dynamic quarterback.

The Huskies’ Jordan Lynch has led the MAC’s top offense (36.9 points per game) with both his arm and his legs. A week ago, he found the end zone four times — twice through the air, and twice on the ground.

The junior ranks second in the conference in quarterback rating (148.4) and rushing yards (918).

“It will be a big challenge, holding their offense down to keep this game within reach for us,” Bowden said.

Akron will bring playmakers of their own. Running back Jawon Chisholm has found his place in the spread offense.

After being held to only one 100-yard performance in the first four weeks, the sophomore has had three consecutive games eclipsing that mark.

His 28 carries for 177 yards and five catches for 55 yards last week led the Zips’ second-half effort.

“He has just been a major factor. He is making us a much better football team,” Bowden said.

Quarterback Dalton Williams has had plenty of opportunities to make an impact on the offense, as his 346 pass attempts ranks top in the nation.

Racking up 2,205 yards (315 per game) and 19 touchdown passes through the first seven games, Williams sits third in the country in each category.

The two high-powered offenses will kick off at noon on Saturday at InfoCision Stadium. ESPN3 will broadcast the game.