The University of Akron football team heads south for its last regular season Mid-American Conference road game this Saturday against the Miami University of Ohio RedHawks at noon at Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio.
The Zips (4-5, 2-3 MAC) look to make it two in a row after beating the University of Massachusetts 17-13 last week. A victory would also bring the team to the .500 mark for the first time since they were 2-2 on Sept. 26.
“A good team effort for us,” fourth-year head coach Terry Bowden said in his weekly teleconference call. “I think our defense held out longer and made one more play to win the game.”
Offensively, Thomas Woodson leads the Zips with 107-of-201 for 1,415 yards and 10 touchdowns. Imani Davis is the top receiver with 32 catches for 411 yards and two touchdowns. Out of the backfield, Conor Hundley is the team leader with 669 yards and six touchdowns on 136 carries.
While the offense continues to struggle in moving the ball, the defense has picked up the slack and held steady. In last week’s game, the offense turned the ball over twice on the Akron side of the field, the defense put together a strong showing and held UMass to two field goals on those drives to keep the Zips in the game and allow for the comeback victory.
Dylan Evans tops the Zips with 79 tackles, 7 tackles for loss (TFL), six breakups, 1.5 sacks, and an interception, followed closely by Jatavis Brown with 77 tackles, 11.5 TFL and 8.5 sacks. Jamal Marcus had contributed 8.5 TFL along with DeAndre Scott’s five interceptions to help pace the defense.
Take away the Bowling Green State University game, who has the No. 1 offense in the MAC, and this defense has only allowed 13.5 points per game.
After 10 games, the RedHawks’ Alonzo Smith leads the rushers with 383 yards and four touchdowns on 91 carries. Quarterback Billy Bahl is 75-of-172 for 1,043 yards and five touchdowns. Sam Martin is the top receiver with 28 catches for 541 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, linebacker Kent Kern has 75 tackles, 11 TFL, two sacks, and two hurries.
“We have to go in there and play our best. We aren’t going to have to go out there and play beyond our means, but we got to play our best, knowing our best has a chance to be good enough,” coach Bowden said.
This is the 25th meeting between Akron and Miami in series history, with the RedHawks leading, 16-7-1.
Last year, the Zips scored twice in the second half and the defense came up big with nine sacks to down the RedHawks, 29-19, at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field.
After the trip to Oxford, The Zips wrap up the season with home games against Buffalo and archrival Kent State University over the final two weeks.