“The University of Akron football team fell to Ohio University at Peden Stadium Saturday, 49-42, after surrendering two special teams’ touchdowns. Ohio (3-8, 2-5 Mid-American Conference) exploited UA’s usually steady kick coverage unit by scoring on a 66-yard punt return and a 97-yard kickoff return to keep pace with UA’s high-scoring offense.””
The University of Akron football team fell to Ohio University at Peden Stadium Saturday, 49-42, after surrendering two special teams’ touchdowns.
Ohio (3-8, 2-5 Mid-American Conference) exploited UA’s usually steady kick coverage unit by scoring on a 66-yard punt return and a 97-yard kickoff return to keep pace with UA’s high-scoring offense. The Bobcats gained 296 return yards in the game while UA (5-6, 3-4 MAC) managed only 100 yards.
Ohio head coach Frank Solich said the returns helped give the Bobcats a spark and then keep momentum on their side.
Those were critical in the game because we were going through a time where we weren’t getting first down after first down in the second half for us, Solich said. It was a little bit of a stretch there. That kickoff return played in big.
Ohio’s special teams’ play, coupled with an effective offense, built the team a 14-point lead twice going into the fourth quarter, but two consecutive fumbles opened the door for a UA comeback.
The first Bobcat miscue occurred when a John Stec punt hit a member of the Ohio return team and was recovered by UA senior Brian Flaherty. The Zips’ promptly drove 30 yards on five plays, as UA senior running back Dennis Kennedy scored his third touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run to cut the deficit to 42-35.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ohio’s Chad Clemens fumbled and UA’s Aaron Williams recovered the ball at the Bobcat 34-yard line. Kennedy capped the Zips’ ensuing 11 play, 34-yard drive by scoring on a 1-yard drive on fourth-and-goal to tie the game at 42-42.
Just as it appeared the game’s momentum had swung in the Zips’ favor, Ohio started its next possession at its own 26-yard line with 2:12 remaining and marched 74 yards on 10 plays to score the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard pass from junior quarterback to senior tight end David Carter.
When Kennedy was asked about his thoughts on the Bobcats’ decisive scoring drive, the senior said the loss couldn’t be pinned on one drive.
It shouldn’t have to come down to that, Kennedy said. As a team, we lost it – offense, defense (and) special teams. We can’t say it was one particular drive.
The loss spoiled a career-day for the veteran tailback. With his 123 rushing yards and four-rushing touchdowns, Kennedy set a school record for points in a season with 110. His 17 rushing touchdowns scored this season also set a new UA record.
Redshirt junior quarterback Chris Jacquemain completed 21-of-36 passes for 235 yards and a score to go along with Kennedy’s performance.
Ohio was led offensively by Jackson, who completed 20-of-28 passes for 222 yards and five touchdowns. The junior also led the team in rushing with 52 yards.
The Zips will look to become bowl eligible for the third-consecutive week and finish the season on a positive note when they travel to Philadelphia on Friday to close the regular season with a MAC East game against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field.