Badgers maul Zips in opener

“The University of Akron football team opened its 2008 season losing to the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. 38-17 on Aug. 30. The Zips (0-1) scored 10 unanswered points in the second quarter to cut their halftime deficit to 17-10, but failed to come any closer to the nationally ranked Badgers.”

The University of Akron football team opened its 2008 season losing to the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. 38-17 on Aug. 30.

The Zips (0-1) scored 10 unanswered points in the second quarter to cut their halftime deficit to 17-10, but failed to come any closer to the nationally ranked Badgers.

After a solid kickoff return by senior running back Andrew Johnson to begin the second half was negated by a holding penalty, UA went three-and-out and was forced to punt deep into its own territory.

UW (1-0) promptly took advantage of the good starting field position by marching 55 yards on 10 plays and scoring a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line to increase its lead to 24-10.

Redshirt senior running back Dennis Kennedy fumbled the football on the first play of the ensuing Zips possession. The Badgers recovered and capped a 7-play, 28-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by sophomore Zach Brown. The score gave UW a commanding 31-10 lead that effectively put an end to the Zips’ comeback hopes.

UA fifth-year head coach J.D. Brookhart acknowledged in his post-game news conference that UW regained control of the game on those first two offensive possessions of the second half.

I think there were a couple of consecutive runs that kind of threw it out of reach, Brookhart said. We were going to have to play extremely well and they were going to have to make some mistakes to have an opportunity. They did make those mistakes, but we didn’t take advantage of them.

The defense’s inability to contain the Badgers’ potent rushing attack thwarted the team’s comeback efforts all game. The Badgers, who entered the game ranked No. 11 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, rushed for 404 yards on 63 carries. Redshirt junior P.J. Hill led the team with 210 yards on 26 attempts.

UW’s third-year head coach Bret Bielema said in his news conference that the team’s game plan was to get off to a fast start and test UA’s defensive line, which was without senior Eric Lively and redshirt-transfer junior Ryan Bain due to injury.

I would probably give the game ball to the offensive line, Bielema said. They controlled the line of scrimmage and were able to move Akron up front, even pick up guys on the second level. I thought our running backs took advantage of the opportunities they had.

The Zips scored their first points of the season when redshirt-junior quarterback Chris Jacquemain connected with senior tight end Merce Poindexter for a 3-yard touchdown pass with 10:44 remaining in the second quarter.

UA capped its first-half scoring when Igor Ivelijic made a 26-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half. The attempt was set up by a 62-yard interception return by senior strong safety Bryan Williams.

An 11-yard touchdown pass from Jacquemain to senior receiver Alphonso Owen late in the fourth quarter capped the team’s scoring.

The Zips amassed 227 yards through the air in the game, with Jacquemain completing 22-of-36 passes. The team rushed for 70 yards.

UA will continue the nonconference portion of its schedule Saturday when it travels to the Carrier Dome to play the Big East’s Syracuse Orangemen The contest will be the first meeting between the two schools. Kick off is set for 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Ohio.


” #1.1360955:3387864011.jpg:SPORTS-FBC-AKRON-WISC-2-MW.jpg:JOE KOSOLLEK / MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL:”