Zips chipped in fourth quarter

“The Central Michigan University football team (7-5, 6-1 Mid-American Conference) scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and tallied 15 unanswered points to defeat the University of Akron (4-8, 3-5 MAC) 35-32, Friday and spoil the Zips’ season finale. After being honored with the rest of UA’s senior class in a pre-game ceremony, wide receiver Jabari Arthur caught eight passes for 111 yards against the Chippewas to set the school record for career receiving yards with 2,653.”

The Central Michigan University football team (7-5, 6-1 Mid-American Conference) scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns and tallied 15 unanswered points to defeat the University of Akron (4-8, 3-5 MAC) 35-32, Friday and spoil the Zips’ season finale.

After being honored with the rest of UA’s senior class in a pre-game ceremony, wide receiver Jabari Arthur caught eight passes for 111 yards against the Chippewas to set the school record for career receiving yards with 2,653.

With the Zips up six points late in the fourth quarter, Arthur caught a 27-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Chris Jacquemain at the CMU 24-yard-line that put UA in scoring position, but the play was nullified when center Mike Schepp was called for holding. The Zips could not recover from the penalty and were forced to punt.

Because of only a 20-yard punt by John Stec, the Chippewas started their go-ahead scoring drive at their own 47-yard-line. Quarterback Dan LeFevour led Central Michigan on a six-play, 53-yard drive that he ended with a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:31 remaining in the game. CMU converted the two-point conversion attempt to lead the Zips 35-32.

Akron’s comeback attempt on its final drive ended quickly, as Jacquemain’s pass was intercepted by Keith Red on the drive’s first play.

Akron head coach J.D. Brookhart said after the game that he was disappointed with the game’s ending for UA seniors, but is proud of his team’s effort throughout the season.

I felt horrible for the seniors for it to end like that, Brookhart said. I was extremely proud of how they competed, especially the last three games. They showed exactly what they’re about.

While the Zips were led in receptions and receiving yards by Arthur, junior Bryan Williams led the team’s ground attack. Williams rushed for 154 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns, including a 61-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

The Zips scored a defensive touchdown in the third quarter when safety Andre Jones returned a fumble recovery 64 yards for a touchdown that gave the Zips a 26-14 lead.

Arthur and fellow senior Reggie Corner said after their final collegiate game that the day was filled with mixed feelings.

It definitely was a wide range of emotions, Arthur said. I was very happy going in, just looking back at my whole experience here. Going out with these seniors was just a great, great feeling – to have gone through everything we have gone through and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I would’ve loved if the game was a little different, but I’m still very proud to be associated with this program and just happy how my career ended.

Corner echoed his teammate’s sentiments.

I’m sad it ended like it ended, but at the same time, I was happy I got another chance to play with the guys I was playing with, the senior cornerback said. You gotta move on, but it’s definitely not how you ever want to end your senior year.

Brookhart praised his team for its positive attributes and work ethic, despite its sub-par record this season.

I’ve enjoyed coaching this football team as much as I’ve enjoyed coaching any football team because they have chemistry, they have character, they’re a family and they have desire, the Zips’ fourth-year head coach said. When you have a bunch of guys like that, good things are going to happen.

I have no regrets with what we’ve done. I just wish we’d gotten a few more wins for these guys (the seniors).

Brookhart said that improved quarterback and wide receiver play – two of the team’s glaring weaknesses in 2007 – will be of primary emphasis throughout the offseason.


” #1.1361461:1749122994.jpg:ARTHUR PIC FOR 11-27.jpg:Senior wide receiver Jabari Arthur ended his Zips career with a school record 2,653 receiving yards.:Gary Krueger / The Buchtelite”