The Miami RedHawks (8-2, 5-1 MAC) made quick work of the division foe Akron Zips (2-8, 1-5 MAC) on Wednesday night, limiting Akron to 212 total offensive yards while forcing six punts and two interceptions in a 19-0 victory at Yager Stadium.
The RedHawks took the lead on the game’s opening possession, draining over five minutes off the clock on a nine-play, 75-yard drive ending in a one-yard Rashad Amos touchdown fun to go up 7-0 early.
Akron looked to respond with a composed drive of their own, getting to the Miami 30-yard line on an eight-play drive before Matt Salopek jumped in front of a Jeff Undercuffler Jr. pass to give the ball right back to the RedHawks at their own 24-yard line.
The teams would exchange three-and-outs for the rest of the quarter, with Akron ending this period of stunning play with a somehow impressive four-play, negative-eight yard drive before punting to start the second frame. Together, the teams combined for four yards on 19 plays, with each of the six possessions (three for each team) ending in a punt.
Miami took the ensuing punt 27 yards over nine plays before settling for the Graham Nicholson field goal from 35 yards out to give the RedHawks a 10-0 lead with 5:01 remaining in the first half.
As they did before, Akron put together a solid drive to try and reply to the Miami score, but on fourth-and-13 at the Miami 35-yard line, Zips quarterback Tahj Bullard rolled back into the pocket and then threw out of an incoming Brian Ugwu pressure, killing the drive after an 11-play, 40-yard effort.
Miami, with a 10-0 lead at halftime, would add to the scoreboard twice more in the second half, with a 30-yard touchdown run by Rashad Amos and a 32-yard field goal from Graham Nicholson pushing the score to 19-0 with 8:55 remaining in the contest.
The Zips would show signs of life with 6:51 remaining, as Akron linebacker Bryan McCoy forced the ball out of Kenny Tracy’s hands and fellow backer Antavious Fish recovered it. Akron was unable to do much with the new possession, however, as Jeff Undercuffler Jr. would toss his second interception of the night by Yahsyn McKee.
The turnover would effectively seal any chance of an Akron comeback, and the RedHawks would walk away with their second shutout of the season— with both performances coming against MAC East foes.
Rashad Amos was the star of the show, with both Miami touchdowns on the night. He accomplished the feat with 118 rushing yards on just 15 carries. Aveon Smith was not called upon often, going 8-of-17 for 50 yards passing and 61 yards rushing. Gage Larvadain led RedHawk receivers with four catches for 29 yards.
Linebacker Ty Wise was a terror on a porous Akron front, with three tackles-for-loss, three sacks and nine total tackles on the night, while Yahsyn McKee led the Miami defensive effort with 10 tackles and an interception. Matt Salopek (nine tackles) also reeled in an interception, two tackles-for-loss and a sack, with Caiden Woullard and Brian Ugwu notching solo sacks.
Graham Nicholson was perfect on two field goal attempts, but had an extra-point blocked.
Jeff Undercuffler Jr. took the majority of snaps at quarterback for Akron, finishing 20-of-36 for 156 yards and two interceptions, with -36 rushing yards on three sacks. Tahj Bullock also saw time under center, completing 2-of-6 passes for 20 yards, with 23 net yards rushing on eight carries (three sacks.)
Lorenzo Lingard led the rushing effort with 47 yards on 11 carries and also finished third in receiving with 20 yards on five catches. Jasiah Gathings led all receivers with seven catches for 67 yards, with no other receiver gaining more than 23 yards (Daniel George.)
The linebacker duo of Antavious Fish and Bryan McCoy both picked up 11 tackles apiece to lead all defensive players, while CJ Nunnally picking up 10 tackles, including 1.5 tackles-for-loss and the team’s lone sack.
Due to prior results, Miami cannot clinch the MAC East this week, but they do control their own destiny at this point, with head-to-head wins (and a one-game lead) on both Bowling Green and Ohio. Miami is set to host Buffalo next Wednesday at 7 p.m. Eastern time.
Akron, already eliminated from postseason play, will travel to Ypsilanti to take on Eastern Michigan for a contest to be played next Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Eastern time.