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Akron Zips vs Savannah State Tigers football recap: Zips use 2nd quarter surge to roll Tigers 52-9

After struggling to defeat their FCS opponent early on, the Zips found a groove in the 2nd quarter and never let up.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Zippy might have been worried early on, but a strong second quarter surge spared her from embarrassment as the Akron Zips downed lowly FCS school Savannah State 52-9 on Saturday.  The win moves Akron to 1-2 on the year, while the loss means Savannah State will have gone over two years without a victory now.

While the final score was wide, the Zips started off very sluggish despite a quick score to open the game.  Tra'Von Chapman hit Anthony Young for a 53-yard gain, with Cody Grice capping off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown rush.  However, after a Chapman interception on the Zips next drive (coupled with poor play by the sophomore quarterback on the next drive), Terry Bowden elected to insert Thomas Woodson.  That switch would not pay off immediately, though, with Woodson throwing a pick on the Zips' third drive of the game.

After a series of punts in a 7-3 game, it appeared as if Woodson had successfully led Akron down the field for a needed score in the 2nd quarter.  However, the drive stalled and Bowden elected to send Robbie Stein out for a 21-yard field goal attempt.  But the Tigers broke through the line, got enough of the kick, and Juwuan Tolbert, who picked off Chapman earlier in the game, took the ball and returned it 81-yards for a huge 9-7 lead.

But that kick seemed to wake up the Zips.

Akron would score touchdowns on their next three drives to end the half, forcing two quick Tiger punts in the process.  Grice would punch in the first two drives after solid efforts by Woodson got the Zips into scoring territory.  On the final drive, with Akron getting the ball with less than a minute to go in the half, Woodson would hit Imani Davis for a 33-yard score to make it a 28-9 game at the half.

The second half would see more Zip dominance on defense, with Bowden's squad forcing two turnovers in the 3rd to keep the Tigers' offense at just three points on the day.  The turnovers would result in an Akron field goal followed by touchdown runs from Conor Hundley and Woodson to make it 45-9 just into the 4th quarter.

The teams would trade garbage time drives, with Chapman getting some action late after struggling early on.

Woodson finished 12-for-20 passing for 207 yards and a touchdown, throwing just one interception.  He also had 63 yards rushing on 11 attempts for a touchdown.   Hundley would finish with 120 yards on 11 carries and a lone score.  Grice had his three touchdowns on just 5 rushes for 7 yards.  Donnell Alexander also had 78 yards on 11 rushes.

Receiving wise, Lane finished with 99 yards on just three catches for a score.  Davis also had three catches for 50 yards.  Young finished with 81 yards, catching only a 28 yarder to go with his 53-yard snag on the first drive.

Defensively, the Zips held the Tigers to just 128 yards passing and 74 yards rushing.  They forced 9 punts and the two turnovers in the 3rd were all they forced all game.