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2018 MAC Football Recap: Central Michigan Chippewas at Akron Zips

Zips outlast the young Chippewas in the 17-10 victory.

MAC Championship - Akron v Toledo Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

In what can only be described as a sloppy football game, the Akron Zips (4-3, 2-2 MAC) earned a 17-10 victory over a young Central Michigan Chippewa football team (1-8. 0-5 MAC) that had a lot to prove. Van Edwards scampered for 92 yards and a touchdown on the ground while Kato Nelson added 149 yards and a score through the air but the Zips gave CMU plenty of opportunities to win with five fumbles, four of which were lost.

After a series of punts to start the game, CMU’s Alonzo McCoy made an impact play with a forced fumble that resulted in an extra possession for the Chips but they did nothing with it as they went three-and-out on the ensuing drive. Akron made Central Michigan pay on the next drive with explosive runs by Edwards and Nelson that was capped off by a 4-yard pass from Nelson to Newman Williams for the game’s first touchdown.

The Zips increased their lead in the second quarter after recovering a CMU fumble as Nick Gasser made a 43-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 10-0. After a few more punts on both sides, Akron extended its lead even further in the closing stages of the first half as Edwards scampered for a 20-yard touchdown.

The tide started to turn for the Chippewas in the third quarter as Mike Danna forced a fumble on Akron’s first drive of the second half to set up a 28-yard field goal by Ryan Tice. The CMU defense again stood strong on the following drive as it forced a three-and-out, while Tony Poljan made some big completions of 19 and 22 yards on the drive and capped it off with a 1-yard plunge into the endzone to cut the deficit to 17-10. CMU again forced a fumble on the next drive but Tice banged a 23-yard field goal attempt off of the upright. Akron missed a field goal of their own on the following drive as Gasser pushed a 43-yard field goal attempt wide left.

After another series of punts, CMU put together an impressive drive in the fourth quarter as it was able to matriculate its way near Akron’s goal line. However, Akron’s defense stiffened as it turned a second-and-two into goal line stand to preserve the lead. Central Michigan got another opportunity to tie the game following another Zips punt, and Julian Hicks did his best to keep the Chips in the game as he hauled in a deflected pass for 14 yards on fourth-and-eight. However, Akron showed its mettle as it forced a fourth-and-19 and sealed the deal with an incompletion by Poljan.