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Akron Zips vs Eastern Michigan Eagles Football Final Score: Zippy Stomps The Eagles 31-6

In the MAC opener for both teams, Akron reminded EMU that a program turnaround takes years, and EMU is only five games in.

Chris Creighton announced that Rob Bolden will continue to start for EMU, but Bolden's performance today didn't inspire confidence.
Chris Creighton announced that Rob Bolden will continue to start for EMU, but Bolden's performance today didn't inspire confidence.
Leon Halip

Despite losing two of their last three games by ridiculous margins, EMU came into today's game with high hopes. After all, those games were against Michigan State and Florida, hardly typical of the level of play in the MAC. Makes sense, right?

For the first 30 minutes of today's game, that argument did hold up. EMU came out strong, scoring a touchdown on an 18-yard pass from Rob Bolden to Tyler Allen, while the Eagles' defense held Akron to short possessions with minimal gains. Even after Bolden threw an interception giving the Zips the ball starting in the red zone, the EMU defense managed to come up with a stop, limiting Akron to a field goal, and sending the teams to halftime with a close 10-6 margin. As an EMU fan, I felt pretty good about that, especially considering that Akron was favored by 26.

Unfortunately, a football game is (usually) 60 minutes long, and the second half proved disastrous for the Eagles.

EMU went three-and-out, four-and-out, and four-and-out. During that span in which EMU ran 11 offensive plays for 22 net yards, Akron gained 12 first downs, 234 yards, and touchdowns on three consecutive drives.

What had been a 10-6 game at halftime had, in the span of 15:05, turned into a 31-6 blowout. And in the fourth quarter, when they'd have liked to have mounted a comeback, EMU ended every drive with a turnover.

For Akron, Kyle Pohl was steady and efficient, completing 27 of 40 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns, plus a rushing touchdown. The EMU secondary gave the Akron receivers a ton of room, frequently playing seven to ten yards away, and Pohl took full advantage of the space, throwing behind his receivers for the safe catch. It didn't translate into many huge gains, but the Zips didn't need to look for big gains.

For the Eagles, on the other hand, Akron crammed the box to take away the running game, and it worked, with EMU averaging just 94 yards on 37 carries, a meager 2.5 yards per carry average. Bolden had a fair game, but not what they needed to offset the rushing struggles. Linebacker Tony Zappone came up big several times, but the EMU secondary turned in such a bad showing that there was just no getting over it.

As rough as today was, EMU fans only needed to look across the field to see reason to hope. Just two years ago, in his first season as Akron's head coach, Terry Bowden's Zips finished the year at 1-11. Now they're considered contenders for a division title. Ron English did not leave this program in good shape, but given time it can be fixed.

That doesn't mean we're going to have much fun in the meantime, though.