Written by: D.J. Johnson
Bowden and his coaching staff were simply overwhelmed on Saturday afternoon.
Looking for their first conference victory, the Zips were overmatched from the first snap in a 37-7 loss to the Northern Illinois Huskies.
“I don’t know if there is an answer for us to beat Northern Illinois right now,” Bowden said.
The Zips (1-7, 0-4 MAC) could not keep up with the dynamic running game of the Huskies (7-1, 4-0 MAC), who put it on the ground 50 times for 305 yards.
A committee of six different players carried the ball at least four times for NIU as they ran away with the victory.
After the Zips went three-and-out on the opening drive, Northern Illinois responded quickly with 10 points in 1:24.
A 39-yard field goal was followed by a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, giving the Huskies possession at the Zips’ 30-yard line.
Four plays later, quarterback Jordan Lynch found wide out Martel Moore for a nine-yard touchdown. The Huskies led 10-0 with 4:52 left in the first quarter.
Another NIU field goal made it 13-0 with 4:47 to go in the second quarter, as the Zips responded with their biggest highlight of the afternoon.
A nine-play, 75-yard drive was capped off with a touchdown, as quarterback Dalton Williams found wide receiver Jerrod Dillard in the back of the end zone from four yards out. The score was 13-7 with 1:32 to go in the half.
It looked as if Akron would go into the half trailing by just a possession, but the Huskies responded with 19 seconds left by way of Lynch’s feet.
The quarterback picked up 15 of his 131 rushing yards of the day, scurrying for the touchdown to make it 20-7 at the half.
“They methodically drive it down (the field),” Bowden said. “(Lynch) is a phenomenal running quarterback.”
The second half did not get any better for Bowden and his team.
The Zips could not get anything going offensively in the third quarter, during which the Huskies scored another 10 points.
A pass from Lynch connected with tight end Jason Schepler with 1:30 left to push the lead to 30-7.
Lynch closed out his day with a 25-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
“When their defense is better than our offense, it shows drastically,” Bowden said.
Jawon Chisholm, after three straight 100-yard performances, was held to eight carries and 13 yards before injuring his left shoulder.
Williams was held to 157 yards through the air, completing 15 of 29 passes and adding a touchdown and an interception.
The Zips will try to regroup this Saturday as they travel to Mount Pleasant to take on Central Michigan (2-5, 0-3 MAC). Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.