Written by: D.J. Johnson
It had to be a long bus ride home Saturday night for the Akron football team.
The feeling has become all too familiar for the Zips. They suffered their sixth consecutive defeat to Central Michigan, 35-14.
“We aren’t quite good enough to win ballgames on the road,” said head coach Terry Bowden.
Saturday’s game marks the 24th straight road loss for Akron in a streak that dates back to 2008. Before the end of the season, Bowden will have two more chances to end that streak, and three more opportunities to pick up the Zips’ first two-win season in three years.
“When your program sits at the bottom of the barrel, you’ve got to keep on fighting,” Bowden said.
The Chippewas (3-5, 1-3 MAC) struck quickly, scoring on a 72-yard run by Zurlon Tipton 50 seconds into the game.
The Zips (1-8, 0-5 MAC) responded with a score of their own halfway through the first quarter when quarterback Dalton Williams found wideout Dee Frieson from nine yards out. The touchdown locked the game up 7-7 with 7:01 to go in the first quarter.
The only other score in the first half came with 3:28 left in the opening quarter, when a 27-yard pass from Chippewa quarterback Ryan Radcliff reached his top receiver, Titus Davis.
Central Michigan took a 14-7 lead into the half.
“It was close enough where (our players) really did believe there was a chance,” Bowden said.
Any momentum the Zips carried into halftime was killed on the opening drive following an interception by CMU’s Jahleel Addae on Akron’s 37-yard line.
Three plays later, Tipton found the end zone for the second time on a five-yard run to make it a 21-7 ballgame.
Central Michigan continued pouring it on, once again taking advantage of good field position.
This time, another three-play drive covered 55 yards and ended with another Radcliff-Davis touchdown hookup. The 36-yard pass made the score 28-7 with 10:51 to go in the third quarter.
Akron reached the end zone 30 seconds into the final quarter when Williams found his biggest target in Jerrod Dillard for a 10-yard touchdown.
The Zips did not get any closer than the 14-point deficit.
Tipton completed his 243-yard day on the ground, with a touchdown in the final two minutes, to settle the score at 35-14.
“There was too much to overcome,” Bowden said.
Playing from behind, Akron once again had to rely heavily on their passing attack.
Williams finished the day 31-of-51, with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. The fifth-year senior ranks in the top six in the nation for passing touchdowns, completions and yards.
Dillard led the receiving corps with seven catches for 91 yards and a touchdown.
Replacing an injured Jawon Chisholm, freshman Conor Hundley carried the ball 17 times for 92 yards.
It will take a great effort by the Zips to pick up their second win this Saturday when they make the short trip to Kent State. The Golden Flashes (7-1, 4-0 MAC) are coming off of a 35-23 win over No.