Returning to the form of last season, Humpty Hitchens found a rhythm in the second half of today's game against Drake, scoring 17 points and dishing an assist to Darryl Roberts for the game-sealing jumpshot.
Akron won its first game of the season against Drake, 63-59.
The Bulldogs led by as many as nine in the second half before the Zips went on a 10-0 run. Neither team led by more than four the rest of the game.
Akron will conclude the Glenn Wilkes Classic in Daytona Beach, Fla., with an 11 a.m. game against Howard tomorrow.
If you look at the stats from last night's game, it's hard to see how Bowling Green won by 16.
Two plays come to mind. First, Dale Martin's fumble on the Bowling Green 12-yard line. Second, the attempted onside kick that the Falcons returned for a touchdown.
Aside from that, Akron and Bowling Green each had 21 first downs. The Falcons held a slight edge in total yardage: 474 to 430.
This was far from the beatdown I envisioned. Akron hung in there, exchanged blows with a strong offense, but Bowling Green scored 28 points within a 13-minute span.
The most obvious positive from this game was the play of Patrick Nicely. Folks, you're watching a talented kid learn his trade and make progress every week. You can tell his timing is improving. His accuracy is getting better. And from Day One, he has possessed the poise to stay in the pocket and be patient for his receivers to open up.
Also look at Brian Wagner, who tallied another 15 tackles. He is the next in the line of great Akron linebackers, going back to Jay Rohr, John Mackey and Kevin Grant.
Broderick Alexander showed great bursts of speed at times. He reminds me of a young Alex Allen. A string of injuries is all that has kept Allen from his all-conference potential during his career. We also saw some good things from Nadir Brown and Anthony Meriwether at receiver.
This is not a team devoid of talent. Nor is it a team without experience. Perhaps what the team lacks is experienced talent -- or senior leadership.
Next week, Akron will finish the season against Eastern Michigan. Is there a difference between 2-10 and 3-9? Not really. Is there a reason for the casual fan to attend? Not really. If there is some solace in a bad season, however, it's neat to see the next generation of Zips fight their way to the top of the depth chart and learn what it takes to be an elite college athlete.
I think there are several on the roster.