Another season to forget

Written by: D.J. Johnson

What a difference a day makes.

On Sunday, the Akron men’s soccer team celebrated another MAC championship and what seemed destined to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

On Saturday, the Akron football team lost their eighth consecutive game.

“It was one of those days where you stood on the sideline and wondered what would happen next,” said head coach Terry Bowden. “It was a very disappointing loss.”

Disappointing was an oft-used word in Bowden’s press conference following the game.

In a season with just a single win, the Zips (1-10, 0-7 MAC) have found many ways to lose. On Saturday, it came by way of a slow start, as the previously winless Massachusetts (1-9, 1- 5 MAC) raced out to a 15-0 lead on their way to a 22-14 victory.

“It’s my responsibility to have them ready,” Bowden said.

Neither team could capitalize early, but UMass took the lead after one quarter with a 23-yard field goal.

The second quarter also belonged to the Minutemen, and was highlighted by a 24-yard pass from quarterback Mike Wegzyn to running back Alan Williams.

By the half, Zips quarterback Dalton Williams had thrown three interceptions, the defense could not find a way off the field, and Akron trailed 15-0.

All was not lost.

The Zips responded midway through the third quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run and a leaping effort from Jawon Chisholm.

UMass once again made it a two-possession game after a 1-yard touchdown run of their own with 3:59 to go in the quarter. Wegzyn, finding his way into the end zone, made it 22-7.

Akron could not get a quick score, but got a glimmer of hope with 2:27 to go in the final quarter as Williams found Marquelo Suel for a 19-yard score.

The Zips defense stepped up, forced a three-and-out, and gave the ball back to the offense at its own 22-yard line.

After a 19-yard pass from Williams to wideout L.T. Smith, two incomplete passes sandwiched an 8-yard pass to Keith Sconiers.

On fourth and two, Williams was sacked and fumbled, coughing up any chance the Zips had at a comeback.

“The offense was not sharp,” Bowden said. “We just have to pick the pieces up and go from here.”

Williams finished the day with 34-of-51 passes for 332 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions.

Ten of the passes found Suel, who ended the day with 105 yards and a touchdown.

Chisholm was the only other Zip to find the end zone. He eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the sixth time this season (23 carries, 103 yards).

The Zips will look for their first two-win season since 2009 when they travel to Toledo (8-2, 5-1 MAC) next Tuesday for their final game of 2012.