The University of Akron football team beat the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks, 35-13, on Saturday in the annual Homecoming Game.
The Zips improve to 4-2 on the season, and they remain unbeaten in conference play at 2-0. The Redhawks continue to struggle this season, falling to 0-6 (0-2).
Starting again for injured Zips quarterback Thomas Woodson, Tra’von Chapman played much better Saturday. On the second offensive play of the game, Chapman kept the ball himself for a 70-yard touchdown run. On the day Chapman threw for 174 yards with three touchdowns to go along with 80 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Akron’s running game struggled mightily outside of the long Chapman run. Without starter Warren Ball once again, running backs Manny Morgan and Van Edwards combined for just 37 yards on 19 carries. Mykel Traylor-Bennett came up big again by pounding in a one-yard touchdown, his fourth of the season. All of his touchdowns have come in the past three games.
Wide receiver Jojo Natson played yet another great game for the Zips. Natson caught seven passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Natson now has 33 catches, 484 yards, and seven receiving touchdowns on the year. He also has returned nine punts for 109 yards with one touchdown.
Also for the Zips, Austin Wolf (one catch, 24 yards, one touchdown), Van Edwards (two catches, 23 yards), Jerome Lane (two catches, 14 yards), A.J. Coney (one catch, 19 yards), and Anthony Lauro (two catches, 13 yards) made contributions in the passing game.
Defensively, Ulysees Gilbert once again led the team in tackles with nine. Daumantas Venckus and Brock Boxen each recorded one sack each, while Kyron Brown and Larry Hope each had an interception. Nathan Bischof recovered a big fumble in the third quarter that helped the Zips take over the game for good.
The Zips dominated several statistical categories. On third downs, Akron converted 50 percent of the time, while Miami only converted once on 12 attempts. Also, Miami committed three turnovers compared to zero for the Zips. Finally, the Zips played very disciplined, committing just one penalty compared to six by the Redhawks.
The big story for the Zips is injuries, as quarterback Woodson and running back Ball remained out with an injury. Natson left in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game with an apparent shoulder injury.
It is unclear how well the Zips can play if these players remain out as the Zips’ schedule gets harder over the next couple weeks. This includes a home matchup with Western Michigan this Saturday as they look to upset the 25th-ranked team in the nation. Game time is 3:30 at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field.