Zips football falls short against Appalachian State

By Jacob Allen, [email protected]

The University of Akron football team couldn’t quite complete a comeback — it lost on Saturday to the Appalachian State Mountaineers 45-38 at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field in Akron.

With the loss the Zips close out the non-conference portion of their schedule at 2-2, while Appalachian State improves to 2-2.

The Zips’ quarterback Thomas Woodson recorded another big passing day, going 31-43 for 353 yards and three touchdowns. Woodson also threw two interceptions, his first two-interception game of the season.

Coming off a career rushing day in the win over Marshall, running back Manny Morgan was quieter, rushing for 37 yards on nine carries. It was a different story for Van Edwards, as he took his seven carries and ran for a career-high 89 yards and the first touchdown of his career.

The two-headed monster that is the Zips’ top wide receivers came out to play once again, with Jerome Lane and Jojo Natson proving impossible to stop. Lane caught nine passes for 134 yards with a first quarter touchdown, while Natson had 10 catches for 87 yards to go along with a clutch fourth quarter touchdown.

Speedy sophomore Austin Wolf (seven catches for 62 yards) and A.J. Coney (four catches, 40 yards, one touchdown) also played a part in the passing game.

While the Zips recorded 38 points and 486 total yards of offense, they could not stop the Mountaineers on defense. Appalachian State posted 587 yards of offense, while recording 30 first downs.

After struggling through three games, Appalachian State’s quarterback Taylor Lamb went 22-30 with 280 yards and three touchdowns. Taylor also ran four times for 23 yards with another touchdown. Taylor did not concede a turnover over all game.

As good as Taylor was, it was running back Jalin Moore that ran the show. Moore ran for 257 yards on 39 carries with two touchdowns. Moore also added three catches for 17 yards.

Appalachian State started off strong, taking a 10-0 lead into the second quarter. However, the Zips fought back to take a 14-10 lead on two quick drives. First, Woodson found Lane on a post route from 14 yards out, and then came back to throw a short pass to Coney, who did the rest to find the endzone from 23 yards.

The Mountaineers’ unstoppable offense and hounding defense came alive after that, taking a 31-14 lead into halftime after three quick touchdowns.

After the Zips stopped Appalachian State on their first drive of the second half, kicker Tom O’Leary nailed a 26-yard field goal to make the score 31-17.

Right when it looked like the Zips would get back in the game, Moore struck with a 49-yard touchdown run. The Mountaineers led 38-17, with over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Zips did not give up, however. First, Edwards finished off a long 10-play, 75-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run. Then, with just over 12 minutes left in regulation, Woodson found Natson with a beautiful pass to the back left corner of the endzone to get the Zips back within seven.

Just over three minutes later the Mountaineers put up their last points of the game when Moore scored once again, this time on a 32-yard touchdown run.

The Zips came back in just under three minutes to get back to within seven points on a trick play. From the Mountaineers’ one-yard line, quarterback Thomas Woodson lined up wide left, with tight end Mykel Traylor-Bennett taking the snap. Traylor-Bennett took the snap and ran over the right tackle for his first career rushing touchdown.

The Zips fought hard to get the ball back, and with 2:12 remaining Akron took over from their own 20-yard line. Unfortunately, the Zips’ drive stalled early with Woodson being sacked twice, including a game-ending fourth-down sack by the Mountaineers’ Dezmin Reed.

The Zips will look to get back on track this Saturday when they travel to play rival Kent State at 3:30 in the Wagon Wheel Challenge. It will be the first of eight straight conference games for Akron.