Considering the season the University of Akron’s football team has had thus far, it wouldn’t be surprising for a Big Ten team to handle the Zips pretty easily.
A late drop by wide receiver Jeremy LaFrance and the inability to score touchdowns instead of field goals kept the Zips from gaining their first win of the year.
We had some chances here tonight, said UA Head Coach Rob Ianello. The final measure for improving for a team is in the final score. We haven’t improved enough.
Indiana was able to get on the board first with a quick six-play drive that was capped off with a 10-yard pass from quarterback Ben Chappell to tight end Ted Bolser.
Akron quickly countered and put up three points of its own with a 45-yard field goal by Igor Ivelijic.
The process repeated itself as Indiana put up another touchdown, while Akron followed up with a field goal, making the score 14-6.
Indiana answered with another touchdown before the Zips finally answered with seven points of their own. Quarterback Patrick Nicely was able to connect with LaFrance for a 28-yard score.
With 45 seconds left, the Hoosiers managed another touchdown, making the score 28-13 at half in Indiana’s favor.
The second half turned out to be a complete turnaround from the first, as both defenses stepped their game up.
The only scores in the second half included a nine-yard run by Indiana’s Tandon Doss and a connection of Akron’s Nicely to LaFrance for the second time of the night.
Akron had a few chances late to score, but came up with the short end of the straw, leading to their fourth loss of the season.
The difference in how we played tonight and how we played in the second half last week is night and day, said Ianello. And that’s what I was hoping for.
I think we had some guys grow. Our defense only gave up one score in the second half and we really did some things much better and our adjustments at halftime were good. We had some chances to get them off the field and then go get some points and we just didn’t get it done.
Nicely finished the night 15-27 for 175 yards and two touchdowns, which was much improved from his numbers from the first three games of the season.
I thought he managed the game very well, Ianello said. He made the growth tonight that you hope he would have made from Gardner-Webb to last week.
The running game was solid, as Alex Allen and Nate Burney combined for 142 yards on the ground.
Wide receiver Gary Pride had a nice night running the wildcat formation. Pride had three carries for 16 yards along with four receptions for 54 yards.
Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell threw a career high of four touchdowns, adding 342 yards and 23 completions along the way.
Running back Darius Willis led the way for the Hoosiers on the ground, adding 93 yards on 19 attempts. Combined, Indiana was able to manage 426 offensive yards compared to Akron’s 335.
It was a good win for us, IU Coach Bill Lynch said. I have a lot of respect for Akron, as I said to many of you on Monday. I thought they came in and played a very, very good football game. I thought it was, in a lot of ways, a well-played football game.
There weren’t a lot of turnovers on either side. We tried to knock it loose and we couldn’t and we took care of it ourselves. There weren’t a lot of penalties. The kicking games were pretty solid, so it was a well-played game.
The Zips will return home after going 0-2 on a two-game road swing. They will play Northern Illinois in the MAC West Division for the homecoming game at 6:00 p.m. at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field.
Following the homecoming game against NIU, Akron will again depart on a two-game road stretch, facing rival Kent State and Ohio.