On a chilly November Tuesday night in Akron, Shaq Vann didn’t even need heated benches to set Eastern Michigan’s offense on fire.
Vann, the fifth-year senior halfback, rushed for a career-high 142 yards on 28 carries and scored on four occasions to boost Eastern Michigan (5-5, 2-4 MAC) to a dominant 42-14 victory over winless Akron (0-10, 0-6 MAC). The Eagles snapped a 2-game losing skid with the road victory, positioning themselves one win away from attaining bowl eligibility for the third time in four years — after zero bowl appearances from 1988-2015.
Despite harsh temperatures, Mike Glass managed to thrive with his accuracy through the air. The quarterback finished 20/25, passing for 246 yards in the victory. Glass was also instrumental to the Eagles’ remarkable rushing effort, as he accumulated 83 yards and a rushing score on the Zips’ defense.
Eastern Michigan led 21-0 heading into halftime and 35-0 in the late third quarter. Prior to Tuesday night, Akron hadn’t scored a touchdown since a September 28 loss to UMass, and the Zips were approaching 19 quarters and five games without appearing in the end zone. But with 24 seconds left in the quarter, quarterback Kato Nelson found a streaking Timothy Scippio down the left sideline. Scippio beat his 1-on-1 coverage in a footrace to the end zone, ending the Zips’ scoring mutiny.
Nelson, in his second game back from a brief suspension, threw a second touchdown pass to Julian Hicks with a little over a minute remaining in the contest. He nearly eclipsed the 300-yard mark through the air, finishing with 288 yards on 20/33 completions. His lone interception stood as the only turnover of the game, where Eastern Michigan strong safety Brody Hoying tipped a deep ball to himself and snagged it in bounds near the goal line.
Eastern Michigan’s defense forced three sacks in the contest, while its offensive line allowed zero. The Eagles stopped the Zips twice on fourth down attempts in EMU territory, including deep in the red zone on Akron’s first possession.
After breaking the short losing skid, Eastern Michigan must defeat either Northern Illinois on the road next Tuesday or Kent State on Black Friday in order to qualify for the postseason. For Akron, the 2019 season has been a nightmare, but Tom Arth still has two opportunities to earn his first career win as an FBS coach — a trip to Oxford to face Miami (OH) and a home game against Ohio to close the season.