The Akron football program has been a cellar dweller in the MAC and a laughingstock of the FBS for the past five years, with a number of ugly losing streaks. The MAC continues to reach new heights each year while the Zips have fallen behind. Northern Illinois was selected to a BCS bowl in 2012 and continues its impressive run into 2013. The 2013 NFL draft kicked off with Eric Fisher being selected first overall. Arguably the best football day in MAC history occurred in 2012. All of these MAC milestones and Akron couldn't manage to even beat one FBS team.
The football team has even been in the shadow of teams from its own school. The soccer team has been a perennial national championship contender winning it all in 2010. The basketball team has reached the MAC championship game in seven consecutive seasons and have won at least 20 games in 8 straight seasons.
And yet, there is some hope for the Zips after defeating the Miami RedHawks 24-17 on Saturday, ending some notable losing streaks. Let's take a look back at what Saturday's win accomplished for the Zips.
October 18th, 2008
The Zips were not yet known for their futility back in 2008. George W. Bush was still president, J.D Brookhart was still Akron's head football coach, the Zips still played in a Rubber Bowl, and Brandon Weeden was 11 (okay he was 25). The Zips would travel to Ypsilanti on this day and defeat the Eagles in a thrilling #MACtion type game. Akron had its FG blocked with 39 seconds left, yet managed to recover the ball and pick up the first down. The Zips eventually scored a touchdown to win 42-35. They would not win another road game until five years and one day later; this past Saturday at Miami.
November 7th, 2009
Akron came into this game against Kent State with a disappointing 1-7 record. Hopes were high coming into the year as the brand new Infocision Stadium had finally opened and the Zips fans had their on-campus stadium. There wasn't much to cheer for in 2009, but the Zips managed to beat their rivals 28-20 for their second win of the season thanks to 126 yards and two touchdowns from Jeremy LaFrance. This was J.D. Brookhart's final season as head coach and the Zips would not win more than one game in a season again until 2013.
November 26th, 2010
Rob Ianello's reign as head coach got off to a rough start as the Zips lost at home to FCS Gardner-Webb. The loss was the ultimate low point for the football program and Ianello went on to lose his first 11 games as head coach. In their final game of the season, the Zips took on the 2-9 Buffalo Bulls at Infocision Stadium. Patrick Nicely had a...nice... game with 193 yards and three touchdowns leading the Zips to a 22-14 victory and ending the season at 1-11. The was the last game Akron won against an FBS foe before starting its 28 game FBS losing streak, which the Zips snapped almost three years later at Miami.
October 21st, 1939
The last Akron victory at Miami occurred in 1939. No, that is not a typo. Coach Thomas Dowler and the Zippers defeated the Redskins in Oxford in 14-0. I cannot tell you much about that game, but I can tell you that was 74 years ago. There were only 48 states, FDR was president, both teams have since changed their name, and Rick Reilly was probably somewhere defending Miami's mascot.
A win over the struggling 0-6 RedHawks isn't all that impressive and was even expected by the oddsmakers, but the proverbial monkey is finally off of Akron's back. Terry Bowden can set new goals where the Zips are the ones reaching those MAC milestones and Saturday is hopefully just one step in the Bowden regime turning the program around.
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