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Ohio Bobcats vs. Akron Zips Football Final: Ohio Squeaks By, Wins 23-20

Without Kyle Pohl, the Zips lost by a small margin to one of their MAC East foes.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio Bobcats defeated the Akron Zips in a sloppy 23-20 game at Peden Stadium. The two teams showed their struggles throughout the game, which included five turnovers, 21 penalties, and 203 penalty yards. Akron quarterback Tommy Woodson made his first career start in place of the injured Kyle Pohl. J.D. Sprague made another start for Ohio after replacing injured quarterback Derrius Vick earlier in the season.

The Zips drop to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the MAC which is good for second in the East while Ohio improves to 4-4 and 2-1 in conference play. Tommy Woodson made his first career start after learning that Kyle Pohl would be out with a head injury. Woodson came into the game with a nice amount of playing time earlier in the season as Akron offensive coordinator A.J. Milwee put Woodson in during the first half at Pittsburgh and against Eastern Michigan. This strategy may have slightly helped, but it was still Woodson's first career start and that in itself has a lot of pressure associated with it. Woodson was not great in the game, but he didn't play too badly. His day included 23 completions on 45 attempts for 268 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also led Akron in rushing with 12 carries for 44 yards.

Woodson's number one target on the afternoon was wide receiver Zach D'Orazio who hauled in 9 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. The Zips were able to rack up 352 yards of total offense including just 84 on the ground. The problem in the running game is that the Zips only gave it to their two very talented running backs a combined 13 times. This caused the offense to be one-dimensional and very predictable. The third turnover came by way of an Andrew Pratt fumble that was returned deep into Akron territory late in the fourth quarter. Akron will travel to Muncie next week to take on the Ball State Cardinals who are fresh off of a huge 32-29 win at Central Michigan.

J.D. Sprague went 17-for-37 for 197 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception. Ohio took and early 7-0 lead on a 49-yard touchdown pass to Ian Dixon less than two minutes into the game. Sprague's numbers can be partly contributed to the number of drops by the Ohio receivers. Sprague was able to pick up an additional 68 rushing yards on six carries. Ohio walk-on tail back A.J. Ouellette led the Bobcats in rushing with 74 yards on 23 carries despite struggling with an apparent ankle injury during the game. Ouellette also added a receiving touchdown on the afternoon.

After dropping their first pair of games against MAC opponents, this is a huge win for Ohio, keeping their hopes of a MAC East title alive. The Bobcats' season doesn't get any easier as they travel to Kalamazoo next week to take on the Western Michigan Broncos, who beat Bowling Green 26-14. Akron will hit the road and face off against Ball State, who pulled off an upset against Central Michigan 32-29.