Zips drop heartbreaker to Ohio, 14-12

By Jacob Allen, [email protected]

The Zips lost a heartbreaker on Saturday to Mid-American Conference rival Ohio by a final score of 14-12. It was the first game of conference play for both teams. Akron fell to 2-3 overall while the Bobcats improved to 4-1.

The big story of this game was defense, which was aided by the bad weather at InfoCision Stadium. Akron held the Bobcats to just 227 total yards of offense, but provided only 319 yards themselves. Possibly the difference maker in this game was third  down efficiency, as Ohio converted on 7 of their 15 third downs while Akron went 5 for 17.

Akron’s lack of success on third down led to senior place kicker Robert Stein to provide the only score by kicking four field goals. Stein made field goals from 40, 33, 41, and 30 yards out. His last came with just under four minutes to play in the game, to pull the Zips within two points.

All Ohio had to do was convert a couple of first downs to run the clock out, but Akron’s stalwart defense stepped up. With the Bobcats at their own 41 yard line and facing a 3rd and 4, the Zips pressure got to quarterback Derrius Vick, who threw the ball out of bounds resulting in an intentional grounding penalty. After an Ohio punt Akron started from their own 27 yard line with over two minutes remaining in the ball game.

Following a one yard Thomas Woodson run and a sack, the Zips faced a 3rd and 17 with 1:37 remaining with one timeout.  On the next play Woodson found receiver Andrew Pratt on a pass over the middle for thirteen yards, but the following attempt for Pratt was broken up, resulting in a turnover on downs. The Bobcats were able to run out the clock and win their first conference game of the season.

Ohio scored a touchdown in each of the first two quarters, but was shut out in the second half. After Stein made the game 3-0 in the first, Derrius Vick found tight end Keith Heitzman wide open for a 24 yard score. Later, in the second quarter, running back Daz’mond Patterson scored from 4 yards out.

Making his second start of the season for the Zips at quarterback, Thomas Woodson threw for 231 yards while completing 18 of his 38 passes. He did not throw a touchdown, but did throw one interception. He also ran 13 times for 11 yards. Running back Conor Hundley had another solid game, gaining 66 yards on 18 attempts.

Senior wide receiver Imani Davis put on a show, as he led the game in receiving with 5 catches for 94 yards, while also running twice for 7 yards. Andrew Pratt, Tyrell Goodman, and A.J. Conley all caught three passes, while Michael Means, Jerome Lane, and Hakeem Lawrence also made plays in the receiving game.

There were several Zips that had excellent games defensively, led by defensive end Jamal Marcus, who had two sacks, as well as cornerback DeAndre Scott who had yet another interception. It was the fourth interception already this season for the Frederick, Maryland native.

The Bobcats got a solid game from their senior quarterback Derrius Vick. Vick completed 18 of 26 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown, and he did not turn the ball over once. He did battle an injury after taking a sack at the end of the first half. He returned, but not before Greg Windham went 0-3 with the interception. Papi White stole the show offensively for the Bobcats, running for 29 yards on only 5 carries while catching 4 passes for 56 yards. A.J. Ouellette also ran 6 times for 26 yards.

The Zips will travel next Saturday to play Eastern Michigan at 3 p.m. while the Bobcats will return home to play the University of Miami in Athens at 2 p.m.