If something has happened seven years in a row, you kind of expect the same thing to happen again in Year 8, right?
For the eighth year in a row, the Ohio Bobcats beat the Akron Zips in a football game, which is a pretty unbelievable streak. This year's edition was not the prettiest or most watchable of games, but Ohio got the job done, beating Akron 14-12.
The win moves Ohio to 4-1 and first place in the MAC East. Akron fell to 2-3, with the loss ending their two-game winning streak.
Akron was able to take the early lead on their first possession of the game when Robert Stein capped off an 11-play, 48 yard drive with a 40-yard field goal. A pass interference penalty pushed the Zips into Ohio territory and a couple of plays later the Zips were in the red zone. But two straight no-yardage runs and a penalty pushed Akron out of dangerous territory, and they had to settle for a field goal.
The Bobcats answered on their next possession behind the stellar play of quarterback Derrius Vick. Vick was 3-4 for 51 yards on the drive that concluded in a 24-yard touchdown strike to tight end and Michigan transfer Keith Heitzman.
After an Akron punt, Ohio once again found paydirt when running back Daz'mond Patterson plunged into the endzone from four yards out to put the Bobcats up 14-3. The play before, Akron's Jamal Marcus sacked Vick for a huge loss but ended up grabbing his facemask, nullifying the sack and moving the Bobcats closer to the endzone.
The Zips were able to take some momentum into halftime as yet again Stein put the football through the uprights from 33 yards out to make it 14-6. Akron's last drive of the half started at Ohio's 46-yard line after a bad punt, but the Zips could only manage to get 30 yards in the last two minutes of the half and ended up with another field goal when a touchdown was within reach.
That momentum quickly dissipated, as Akron quarterback Tommy Woodson threw a pick on their first possession of the second half. Ohio was threatening to score behind second-string quarterback Greg Windham who had come in for Vick due to perceived injury. But, that drive was quickly stopped when Akron's DeAndre Scott scooped up a pass at the goal line and rolled into the endzone for a touchback.
A couple of punts later Akron again drove into the Ohio red zone, getting the ball down to the 19-yard line. Woodson found Josh McNeil at the Ohio six yard line, but that play was called back due to holding. Two plays later, Stein kicked yet another field goal, this time from 41 yards out to make it 14-9.
Akron yet again was knocking on the door with the ball at the Ohio 14-yard line with a first and ten with around five minutes left on the clock. A short Woodson run and two incomplete passes later, Stein connected on yet another field goal to make it 14-12 with four minutes remaining.
The Zips had an opportunity to win the game after downing an Ohio punt at their own 27-yard line, but a Quentin Poling sack on second down took them completely out of any good chance to move downfield. Ohio's Ian Wells broke up a pass on fourth and four, effectively ending the game.
Akron actually outgained Ohio by almost 100 yards (319-227) but just couldn't convert on red zone opportunities. Credit the Ohio defense for holding their ground, and especially Poling who had a standout game. The sophomore linebacker had eleven tackles (two for loss), one sack and one interception on the day.
No one really stood out offensively this game (as the scoreline shows), but Vick had a solid day running the offense. The redshirt senior went 18-26 for 179 yards and a touchdown, but was very limited on the ground. Papi White led the Bobcats on the ground and catching the ball, rushing five times for 29 yards and catching four passes for 56 yards.
Woodson finished 18/38 for 231 yards and an interception along with eleven yards on the ground. Running back Conor Hundley couldn't get it going either, running eighteen times for just 66 yards. Receiver Imani Davis caught five balls for 94 yards.
Ohio hosts Miami next Saturday in the next installation of the Battle of the Bricks, while Akron travels to Eastern Michigan.