The Akron Zips were hoping this would be an easy one. First home game of the season against an FCS opponent? Should be easy as cake. The Zips even had a different look to their helmets for the game tonight:
But, alas, with Akron football, nothing is ever easy. James Madison came out on the first drive and took it to the Zips defense, marching right down the field for a three-yard touchdown pass from Michael Birdsong to Dae'Quan Scott. The ensuing kickoff took a weird bounce, hit off an Akron player, and was recovered by the Dukes. Birdsong completed a long pass to get deep in Akron territory, then Scott punched it in for another touchdown. The bleeding didn't stop there, as Akron's next possession ended up in punt followed by a Kyle Pohl interception. At one point late in the first quarter, Akron had more penalty yards than total yards.
Then the best thing that could happen happened for the Zips: the first quarter ended.
The second quarter was a different story, as Colorado transfer Nick Hirschman relieved Pohl and turned the Zips offense around. He led Akron on two touchdown drives, one coming off of a James Madison turnover. After running the first one in on a QB sneak, Hirschman found ex-QB Zack D'Orazio in the end zone to put the Zips ahead.
There weren't many positives in the first quarter for the Zips, but the second quarter proved to be the turning point in the first half. Akron's defense played much better, and they also may have found their quarterback for the immediate future. It's still only halftime, and the Zips are only up one, but they have all the momentum on their side. A quick start to the second half is a must to put this game away.