Zips football opens up season with win over Virginia Military Institute

By Joshua Glaze, [email protected]

The University of Akron Zips’ football team outscored Virginia Military Institute 47-24 in the season opener Saturday evening at Infocision Stadium. The Zips seemed to pick up where they left off last season, increasing their win streak to six games, the longest since Head Coach Terry Bowden became the Zips’ head coach in 2012.

Quarterback Thomas Woodson had a career day. Passing for 407 yards and six touchdowns he earned himself Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors. Last season’s leading receiver Jerome Lane also put up career highs. Hauling in ten receptions for 192 yards to go along with two touchdowns, Lane stretched the Keydets defense for an average of 19.6 yards per catch.

Senior transfer Warren Ball (Ohio State) provided a consistent rush attack with 110 yards and  one touchdown in his highly anticipated debut with the Zips. Utah State transfer wide receiver Jojo Natson also made his debut, catching four passes for 90 yards with three touchdowns.

The Keydets got on the scoreboard first after Mather Nicolson scooped a Natson fumble that lead to a 1-yard touchdown run by Quan Myers. The Zips needed little time to respond, answering back on the second play of the ensuing drive with Woodson finding Natson for a 46 yard touchdown, evening the score at 7-7.

After Akron’s defense forced a punt, Woodson began to heat up by completing three passes in a row, finishing with a 30 yard touchdown pass to Lane. Early in the second quarter, after forcing a three-and-out, the Zips’ duo of Woodson and Lane connected again for a 17-yard touchdown pass to go up 19-7.

Late in the half, the Keydet’s Riuq Trotman intercepted Woodson, returning it 46 yards to set up Reed King for a 37-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, the Keydets were able to put together a long 16-play drive resulting in a 3-yard touchdown pass from Al Cobb to Ryan Swingle to cut the deficit to 19-17 with the Zips still leading.

On the ensuing possession, the Zips fired back with a touchdown in eight plays with Woodson throwing to his go-to man Jerome Lane, who fumbled, but the ball was recovered by Natson in the endzone resulting in a touchdown.

Later, Woodson found Austin Wolf for a 31-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 33-24. After the Keydets turned it over on downs Woodson was again able to orchestrate a four-play drive finding Natson for a 19-yard touchdown reception. Warren Ball was able to gash the VMI defense on a goal line dive , scoring the final touchdown with 7:10 left in the fourth quarter to go up 47-24.

The Zips face off against the Wisconsin Badgers September 10th at 3:30 p.m. in Madison, Wisconsin. Tune in as the Zips try to keep their winning streak alive against the tenth-ranked team in the nation.