It's hard to explain how Chris Jacquemain felt after Akron's 22-14 win Saturday night.
He had recently completed an underdog charge to win the starting quarterback job. He was playing in the stadium of his hometown pro team in front of friends and family from nearby Mentor. And he performed pretty well.
"It was one of the best feelings of my life," he said with a facial expression that indicated he was close to emitting tears of joy.
Jacquemain completed 14 of 24 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate game action. More importantly, he limited mistakes, which is the trait which earned him the job in the first place.
Army's defense was porous and ineffective at rushing the passer, so it's not a performance that will define his career. Still, it showed Akron will have a quarterback who can manage the game and give the team a chance to win.
"Everything slowed down after the first possession," Jacquemain said.
Nine of Jacquemain's passes found the hands of Jabari Arthur, who perhaps played his best collegiate game yet. He caught 11 passes total for 125 yards, including an acrobatic touchdown grab.
"We got on the same page," Arthur said of his connection with Jacquemain.
Coach J.D. Brookhart praised both players after the game.
"Chris did a nice job of executing," he said. "With the new offense, he's only going to get better."
Arthur looked like an adolescent participating in an elementary school pickup game. Army single covered him, and got burnt. Then the Black Knights double covered him, and still got burnt. The coach added that Arthur's talent helps a quarterback look good.
"Jabari makes you look right a lot," he said. "You don't have to be perfect or precise."
The defense also deserves a lot of credit. Army constructed just one scoring drive. (The other touchdown was off a blocked punt that occurred after the result was fairly certain.)
Reggie Corner intercepted a pass for a touchdown. Brion Stokes was active, tallying six tackles (three for loss), a sack and a forced fumble. Davanzo Tate intercepted a pass and broke up two others.
Akron effectively rushed the passer in blitz situations, particularly from the weak side. Quarterback David Pevoto took several blind-side hits.
"Defensively, I thought we played hard," Brookhart said.
Of course, in beating an awful team by only eight points, not everything went to plan.
Igor Iveljic missed an extra point on Akron's first touchdown. Stec's punt-turned-touchdown could have been a lot more devastating. Army's Wesley McMahand found some success, rushing for 84 yards on 21 carries.
It was still a win. And it allowed Akron an exhibition contest before serious college football begins Saturday in Columbus.
"I think we grew up a little bit in areas we needed to grow up," Brookhart said.