Zips’ football hosts homecoming game

By Jake Allen, Sports Editor

The University of Akron football team will host the Miami University Redhawks this Saturday in its annual Homecoming Game at 3:30 p.m. at Infocision Stadium in Akron.

The Zips enter the game with a 3-2 record overall, and are 1-0 in conference games after beating Kent State last Saturday. Miami has yet to fill out the win column, as it sits at 0-5. The Redhawks lost their only conference game of the season on Saturday in a 17-7 loss to Ohio University.

The Zips could struggle if quarterback Thomas Woodson can’t play again due to injury. Woodson has been excellent this season (84-126 passing, 1,247 yards, 13 touchdowns, four turnovers), while backup Tra’von Chapman has had his struggles (18-40 passing, 283 yards, two touchdowns, three turnovers). However, Chapman did lead the Zips to victory last week, so he has Coach Terry Bowden’s full confidence.

If running back Warren Ball can’t return from an injury he suffered during the team’s week-two loss to Wisconsin, the Zips will roll with the two-headed monster of Manny Morgan and Van Edwards. Both Morgan (230 yards) and Edwards (164 yards) have played well in Ball’s absence.

On the goalline, the Zips could once again look to work with the “wildcat” formation, featuring Mykel Traylor-Bennett. Traylor-Bennett works as a tight end for the most part, but in short yardage situations he works in the backfield to pound his way to the goalline. The 6’3”, 224 lbs. junior has ran four times for 18 yards with three touchdowns.

Despite being relatively bottled up last week, the duo of Jerome Lane and Jojo Natson have been phenomenal this season. Each player ranks in the top six in the conference in catches and yards. Austin Wolf (18 catches, 285 yards, three touchdowns) has made himself a serious deep threat as a tertiary option in the passing game.

The Redhawks boats a very young team with some talent on the offensive end. Sophomore quarterback Billy Bahl ranks fourth in the conference with 1,154 yards. He has completed 55.2 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and four interceptions.

Bahl’s top weapon is also a sophomore, 6’4” wide receiver James Gardner. Gardner is eighth in the conference with 387 yards. He leads the team in yards, catches (22), and touchdowns (five).

A pair of sophomores carry the running game as well. First, Alonzo Smith (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) has ran for 268 yards on 74 carries with one touchdown. Also, 5’7” back Kenny Young has carried the ball 43 times for 175 yards.

This will be the 26th game between the two teams, with Miami holding a 16-8-1 advantage over the Zips. The Zips took last season’s meeting 37-28 in Oxford.

The Zips will induct six new members to the Hall of Fame Class during Homecoming, including Bill Hadden, a football player from the 1987 graduating class.