|
|
The Suburbanite
  • Zips snap streaks, seek to use win as springboard to more

  •  The Akron Zips reached another road marker on the path back to respectability with their 24-17 win over the Miami Redhawks in their eight game of the season, snapping two unwanted streaks in the process.

    • email print
  • The Akron Zips reached another road marker on the path back to respectability with their 24-17 win over the Miami Redhawks in their eight game of the season, snapping two unwanted streaks in the process.
    "Good win for us," coach Terry Bowden said. "It put a lot of things behind us that have been written about a lot of times. A lot of records that we faced (and) I'm proud that the kids were able to overcome the road losses and the two wins in a season and the conference wins and FBS wins. All of those (are) things that the players who have been here haven't been able to experience."
    The triumph was the Zips' first road win since a 42-35 triumph at Eastern Michigan on Oct. 18, 2008. It was also their first conference win and win over a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team since a 22-14 win over Buffalo on Nov. 26, 2010. Such feats might not seem like a reason to celebrate, but for a program coming off three straight 1-11 seasons, every step forward is magnified.
    Wins have been difficult to come by for the Zips despite noticeable improvement this season. Close calls against Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 24 Michigan and No. 23 Northern Illinois proved Akron's progress to be legitimate, but cashing in a chance to win was vital against the struggling RedHawks.
    "It's amazing...the strength of schedule we've played. You know it's been good, but to see the record of the people we've played...it's about the wins and losses, but I throw these things out to the kids," Bowden added.
    SPRINGBOARD FOR SUCCESS
    With three games remaining, including two against teams even with or below them in the Mid-American Conference standings, the Zips are looking to use the Miami win as a springboard to a solid end of the year.
    Key in the team's improved play of late has been the resurgence of junior running back Jawon Chisholm.
    Chisholm has posted three of his four best rushing totals of the year in the past month and had all five of the Zips' touchdowns in the loss to NIU (27-20 on Oct. 12) and in the win over Miami.
    With an improved rushing attack, the offense has been able to control the ball and clock more, giving the beleaguered defense a chance to rest between possessions. That, in turn, has allowed the defense to be more effective when it does return to the field and the unit has responded by limiting NIU to 12 points below its season average and holding the RedHawks to 14 points.
    CHANCE FOR MORE
    Although the Miami game proved that no contest, even one against a winless opponent, is easy, the schedule ahead is not overwhelming. Games against MAC West Division contender Toledo looms, but the Zips' other remaining contests are against Kent State and Massachusetts. Both teams cohabitate the bottom of the MAC East standings alongside Akron and are games UA will have a legitimate chance to win.
    Page 2 of 2 - Victories against the Golden Flashes and Minutemen may not be enough to reach bowl eligibility, but they would go a long way toward answering critics who might argue that the Zips have not made enough progress in their two years under Bowden. They would also provide a reason for UA fans to end a season with hope for the first time in a long time.
    Reach Andy at 330-580-8396 or andy.harris@thesuburbanite.com.
    On Twitter: @aharrisBURB