Akron, carved up by Heisman Trophy candidate running back Saquon Barkley, needed a rebound at InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field to not only maintained the confidence that wasn’t flattened in Happy Valley, but to have the chances of winning the Mid-American Conference East Division continue to be a possibility.
This is a Zips team that lost the final four games of last season to finished 5-7 overall, missing out on a bowl game opportunity. In the one game Akron played in 2016 against an FCS opponent, the team won by 23 at home over VMI Keydets. So clearly UA beats the programs it should beat in non-conference play, and the same occurred Saturday.
Redshirt senior quarterback Thomas Woodson completed 15-of-21 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown during the 52-3 win. Senior running back Warren Ball rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns, his first 100-yard game of the season.
The Zips got out to an early 7-0 win at the 10:47 mark of the opening quarter when Ball found the end zone for his first score. 24 unanswered points would be scored by Akron until the Golden Lions converted a 25-yard field goal with 7:59 into the second quarter.
Pine Bluff allowed 464 yards of total offense and 27 first downs to Akron, who also didn’t commit any turnovers.
It was 38-3 with nine minutes left in the third quarter when Akron went 65 yards on 13 plays, ending with Ball collecting his final touchdown. Pine Bluff didn’t score the entire second half.
UAPB quarterback Brandon Duncan threw for 105 yards and two interceptions and preseason All-MAC linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III had interception returned for a touchdown a minute into the second quarter.