Tuesday night’s game between the Ohio Bobcats (1-1) and the Akron Zips (0-2) was not for the feint of heart. The teams combined for three missed field goals and Akron turned the ball over three times, but Ohio managed to escape with the win thanks to 139 yards and two touchdowns from De’Montre Tuggle. Akron’s Teon Dollard showed out as well with 165 yards on the ground, but Keye Thompson was the difference in the game for the ‘Cats as he registered six tackles, a sack, and an interception.
Ohio wasted no time to score on the opening drive as Kurtis Rourke found Shane Hooks for a 7-yard third down conversion and a 40-yard bomb, which set up a Tuggle 9-yard scamper for a touchdown. Akron responded with a drive that was aided by 27 rushing yards from Dollard, but Ohio got a fourth down stop on its own side of the field.
After a series of punts for both sides, Ohio once again set up for a punt after a failed run up the middle on third down, but Jeremiah Knight fumbled the return, allowing Jarran Hampton to pick it up, putting the ‘Cats back in business. Ohio then went up two scores on a one-yard option keeper by Armani Rodgers that was set up by a 24-yard pass from Rourke to Cox.
The momentum was clearly on the side of the Bobcats as they forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Akron drive and got the ball back at midfield. However, Bubba Arslanian’s second sack of the night forced another Ohio punt, which pinned the Zips back at their own 4-yard line.
Both of Akron’s QBs made plays on the following drive as Gibson found George Qualls for a 35-yard completion, MyJaden Horton picked up a conversion on fourth-and-one, and Gibson capped off the drive with a 14-yard TD strike to Nate Stewart. Momentum stayed on the Akron sideline as they forced another three-and-out. A couple of runs by Dollard help ed to set up a 50-yard field goal attempt, but Cory Smigel missed it wide right to close the first half.
The Zips got a 39-yard scamper from Dollard on their first drive of the second half, but an Austin Conrad sack brought up a 34-yard field goal from Smigel to set the score at 14-10. Ohio go the ball on a short field due to a nice return on a pooch kick and Tuggle accounted for 14 yards on the drive, but the Bobcats settled for a 44-yard field goal from Tristian Vandenberg.
A Jett Elad interception gave Ohio a prime opportunity to score once again, but Vandenberg missed a 28-yarder to keep the score at 17-10. Ohio picked off another pass, but it inexplicably missed a 29-yard field goal. An Akron three-and-out gave the ‘Cats some life, and Tuggle made the most of it as he went 70 yards on nine carries on the drive on his way to his second TD of the night.
A Jeremiah Burton sack on second down made things difficult, but consecutive 20+ yard completions made things interesting before a Thompson sack essentially ended the game.
Ohio hits the road next week to take on Miami in the Battle of the Bricks, while Akron continues a tough stretch as it takes on Kent State on the road.