A brisk wind roiled around InfoCision Stadium Saturday complementing an unreasonable October chill putting the Akron Zips offense on ice – excepting running back Jawon Chisholm - for much of their game against the Ball State Cardinals.
A thaw eventually came, but it did so late leading to a Cardinals 42-24 win over UA.
Chisholm rushed for 166 yards on 26 carries including a 65-yard sprint for a touchdown to serve as the Zips only spark on offense.
The passing game proved non-existent as sophomore quarterback struggled – not just with the wind or the cold, but with accuracy and questionable decisions. On several occasions, he rifled the ball to receivers who were either blanketed or covered by more than a single defender, lucky to come away without a turnover in those instances.
The defense gave them opportunities; that represents the most troubling aspect of the situation.
Despite spotting the Cardinals a 14-3 lead in the opening quarter, the Zips defense buckled down on subsequent drives.
On four consecutive possessions, the Zips defense harassed and harangued giving the offense every chance to get into the game. The Zips couldn’t generate anything resembling rhythm until Chisholm started to put things together in the second quarter after they appeared to ride him.
On a four-play, 82-yard drive, Chisholm rushed the ball three times. The first two carries netted 13 yards. On the next he dashed 65 yards for the Zips first TD to put them back in the game
But the defense gave up 434 yards. Yes, they did against the second best offense in the Mid-American Conference.
Bowden said during the week that the Zips would need to match the Cardinals in a shootout and to do so they had to maximize every opportunity available to them. They did not.
The Zips closest margin came with Ball State leading 14-10 in the second quarter after Chisholm’s scored which seemed to serve as a wake-up call for the Cardinals who scored on their next two possessions to take a commanding 28-10 halftime lead. One that proved virtually insurmountable despite the fact that the offense scored two TDs in the second half.