Zips Dominate Falcons in Satisfying Victory
Kyle Molinelli, WZIP Sports Director
The Akron Zips defeated the Bowling Green Falcons at InfoCision Stadium on Saturday, dominating 31 to 3.
Both teams remained winless coming into the affair. However, the Zips were -2.5 favorites coming into the game. It had been a whopping 770 days since the last victory for Zips. Saturday’s game also marked a milestone for Head Coach Tom Arth, who secured his first victory since taking over in December 2018.
The Zips received the opening kickoff and took the ball to their own 18 yard line and the offense went to work. On the opening plays, running back Teon Dollard had back-to-back carries that gained first downs. Dollard has been the team’s MVP this year, so it was obvious the Zips would go to him early and often.
The first drive was snuffed out and Akron punted. However, on the punt, Bowling Green fumbled and the Zips recovered on the Bowling Green 11 yard line. still, the Zips couldn’t capitalize all the way, and settled for a field goal. Akron led 3-0 with 10:32 left in the first quarter. Bowling Green’s first possession on offense was tested a few times with multiple third downs, but the Zips defense could not get off the field. Akron finally made the big stop when the Falcons were in the red zone, so they too had to settle for a field goal. The score became 3-3 with 2:12 left in the first. The Zips went back to work on offense to close out the first quarter quickly moving down field, crossing midfield as time expired.
The second quarter picked up with the Zips getting a first down off a personal foul from the Falcons, and moving into the red zone. Akron took advantage of the flag, and scored their first touchdown off a pass from Zach Gibson to George Qualls, followed by an extra point by Corey Smigel on the kick. The Zips then led 10-3 early in the second quarter.
The Falcons answered quickly though, with a pass for 53 yards, getting into the red zone. Akron recovered nicely, however, holding them to a 4th down, and the Falcons missed a field goal from the Akron 38 yard-line. The Zips took over, and got another yard boost from a facemask call against the Falcons. Akron once again marched downfield to their own 40, but got stopped and was forced to punt with 5:02 left in the second quarter.
Punter Kyle Romenick dropped the ball perfectly on the Falcons 1 yard line. Akron quickly forced a 4th down and a Falcons punt in their own end zone, which was blocked by Michiah Burton and recovered by Gavin Blunt for another Akron touchdown. The score ballooned to 17-3 favoring the Zips, with 3:38 left in the half.
Bowling Green looked to gain some momentum back, striking through the air quickly. But unfortunate penalties kept halting their drives. Akron once again forced a punt with 1:59 remaining in the half. The Zips two-minute offense tried to move quickly with big runs from Jeremiah Knight moving the team to the Bowling Green 35 yard-line. But the drive was snuffed by a sack, and both teams headed into the locker room. Score heading into the half: Akron 17, Bowling Green 3.
The start of the second half also brought the start of a dazzling snow shower for the evening. The Falcons received the kickoff and quickly moved past midfield, but momentum could not stay with Bowling Green as Akron intercepted a pass. As quickly as the snow came and went, the Zips flipped field position, quickly getting in the red zone,and finishing it off with a Teon Dollard touchdown. Cory Smigel once again nailed the point after touchdown, and the Zips led 24-3 with 10:45 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Falcons didn’t take it lightly, as they flipped the field quickly with a 54 yard rush from Terion Stewart to get it into their red zone. However, the Falcons went to the well too many times, as they fumbled on the next run and the ball was recovered by the Zips.
The Falcons were able to force a 3-and-out, however, so the Zips could not take advantage of the turnover. Bowling Green took over once again on the Akron 43 yard line, as they looked to score their first touchdown of the day and gain back some momentum.
Bowling Green continued to run the clock down, hoping to cap it off in the end zone. But the Akron defense proved too powerful and forced a turnover on downs, with 2:19 left on the clock for the third quarter. The Zips decided to run out the clock in the third quarter and head into the fourth by punting.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Zips punted the ball away to the Falcons, who returned it to the Akron 35. With great field position, Bowling Green looked to put some points up on the board but once again, penalties kept biting the Falcons in key moments, such as resulting in an Akron sack on 4th and 7 with another turnover on downs. With the lead already wide, the Zips did not let off the gas with another Teon Dollard 50-yard rushing touchdown., followed by another good PAT by Smigel. The Zips now led 31-3.
All that was left was to run out the clock for Akron. Both teams traded possessions and punts, as time continued to tick down closer to Akron’s first football win in 770 days. Finally, Bowling Green emptied the clock, and for the first time in two years, the Zips got to celebrate a victory.
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