Zips hope to chip away central Michigan

Written by: D.J. Johnson

Zips in search of another victory.

It’s all about getting that second win.

Since 2009, Zips fans have been patiently waiting for a two-win season: something that could be fulfilled on Saturday afternoon, when the Zips travel to Central Michigan.

“Eventually, you want to see the fruits of your labor,” said head coach Terry Bowden. “You can’t underestimate how much of a lift (another win) would be.”

If there was ever a time for Bowden’s team to pick up a win, it would be within the next three weeks.

The game against Central Michigan (2-5, 0-3 MAC) will be followed by solid Kent State and then winless UMass.

The Zips (1-7, 0-4 MAC) would like to have it in the books by Saturday night.

Akron will have to improve from a week ago, when they lost their fifth consecutive game to Northern Illinois, 37-7.

The Chippewas are currently riding a four-game losing streak after last week’s 41-30 loss to Ball State.

One team will walk off the field starting a new streak: a winning streak.

“Central Michigan is kind of in the same boat as we are, in the sense of trying to make something out of this season,” Bowden said.

As they have been doing all season, the Zips will undoubtedly live and die through the air.

Quarterback Dalton Williams leads the nation in pass attempts and is second in completions.

The uptempo offense will have to find its stride once again after just one touchdown last week. The offense will also have to help out its defense, being that it’s ranked 109th in the nation (out of 120).

Over the course of the last five games, defensive coordinator Chuck Amato has seen his team give up nearly 40 points per game (an average of 39.6).

In their seven losses, the Zips have not held an opponent under 24 points.

“We had a long talk on perseverance,” Bowden said. “The opportunity to line up and play a football game and get another win ought to motivate you.”

The Chippewas have had their fair share of defensive struggles, as they have not kept an opponent under 27 points all season. Giving up 39.4 points per game, they rank fifth-to-last in the nation.

Third-year starting quarterback Ryan Radcliff runs a balanced attack on offense.

The Sherwood native has taken care of the ball much better than in his two previous seasons; Radcliff now has 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the year.

Junior Zurlon Tipton will carry the load in the backfield.

Tipton eclipsed the 100-yard mark last week for the first time since Central Michigan’s season-opener.

The Zips’ backfield is to be determined, as starter Jawon Chisholm’s X-ray showed no broken bones. He remains day-to-day.

Freshman Connor Hundley, who carried the ball 18 times for 63 yards against Northern Illinois, will be the lead back if Chisholm is unable to play.

The Zips came within one point of picking up their second win last season when they hosted the Chippewas, eventually falling 23-22.

Saturday’s game is set to kick off at 3:30 p.m. at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mt. Pleasant.