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2017 Week 3 Recap: Akron falls to Iowa State, 41-14

Problems against Power 5 programs continue for the Zips

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NCAA Football: Iowa State at Akron David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

InfoCision Stadium hasn’t necessary meant home advantage for the Akron Zips.

Since its inception in 2009, Akron has gone 19-30 not including Saturday’s non-conference game against the Iowa State Cyclones. The team did capture their first win of the 2017 season last week over Arkansas Pine Bluff, 52-3.

That record correlates with how the Zips have performed in recent memory, having gone to one bowl game since 2006. After starting last season 5-3, four consecutive losses dropped Akron out of bowl contention, the fourth time head coach Terry Bowden has done so.

Opening the year with a trip to Happy Valley, losing by 52 points in the process, was sort of forgotten after punishing a bottom-tier SWAC program, a good measure for a team ranked near the bottom in the FBS in total offense (311) and passing yards per game (145).

Kicking the confidence of Pine Bluff surely meant that the Zips felt assured they could hang tough with Iowa State, who came off a 44-41 overtime loss to in-state Iowa, even after leading by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

ISU’s Matt Campbell understood the importance of winning on the road against a MAC program. He knows that first hand, as he took down the Cyclones back in 2015 when he was head coach of the Toledo Rockets.

Iterating what Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register wrote Thursday, one of two sides of Akron would show this week, whether that’d be the 159 yards of offense totaled at Penn State, or the 267 yards of rushing the Golden Lions allowed in InfoCision.

It showed by the third quarter Saturday that the latter was not the case.

Redshirt senior Warren Ball was held to carries and yards in the 41-14 loss, as the Zips allowed 21 points in the second half after getting the score to a six-point different at halftime.

Ball, a former transfer from Ohio State, saw a significant drop in production from last week, carrying a heavy load of the offense against UAPB, grabbing his second 100-plus yard performance and the first multi-touchdown game of his career at Akron.

Quarterback Thomas Woodson’s two touchdowns all occurred in the second quarter, including his final with 38 seconds before the half that put the score at 20-14. Iowa State maintained a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

Woodson also finished 25-of-40 passing for 240 yards with an interception. Ball did catch the second of Woodson’s touchdowns.

Jacob Park put ISU on the board at the 4:33 mark, connecting with receiver Allen Lazard on a seven-yard touchdown pass. Park, who threw for four touchdowns against Iowa, completed 24 of his passes for 347 yards.

Three running backs for the Cyclones combined for 190 yards on the grounds on 37 carries, including sophomore David Montgomery, who went 127 yards on 22 touches.

Park got Iowa State up 27-14 with 3:34 remaining in the third quarter and later ran for a 14-yard touchdown midway in the final quarter during the team’s 21 consecutive points streak.

Defensively, the Zips allowed 508 yards of total offense, 5.2 yards per rush and 9.6 per pass completion. Junior linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III was named the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the East Division earlier this week, after leading Akron with 10 tackles, a sack, and an interception against Pine Bluff.

The Zips fall to 1-2 on the season. They won’t begin conference play until Sept. 30 at Bowling Green, but will travel to Troy next week in the meantime.