How does a team dominate for three quarters, then slumber in the fourth?
J.D. Brookhart preached avoiding a letdown after the Miracle in Kalamazoo. Yet that's exactly what his team did.
Temple won 24-20, despite the Zips holding a 20-3 lead after three quarters. Owls quarterback Adam DiMichele eerily looked like Charlie Frye in his elusive scrambling, throwing on the run and propensity to drive his team down the field.
The Zips knew Temple was going to pass, and they still couldn't stop it.
Reggie Corner did his part with two interceptions. Bryan Williams solidified his spot with 114 rushing yards. But when the team needed it most, Akron couldn't convert a third down or stop DiMichele's march east at the Rubber Bowl.
Chris Jacquemain played an average game at best. He was 12-for-21 for 145 yards, including two touchdowns and two interceptions. I've said it before. I'll say it again: He's not the best quarterback on Akron's roster. He might not even be the second best.
Still, it was the defense that blew the game in the end. Going into a bye week, Jim Fleming has to discover what changed between Week 2 vs. Ohio State and Week 7's loss vs. Temple. The subtraction of John Mackey doesn't cut it. The pass defense in particular lacks the swagger that carried the team the first few games of the season.
Here's my hypothesis: The 3-3-5 just doesn't work in college football today. High schools are pumping out mobile quarterbacks at alarming rates. Akron has one itself (although he's not the starter somehow). You are bound to face a scrambler at least six times a season. The 3-3-5 provides more opportunities for scrambling, and teams take advantage of that.
Regardless, this is exactly the type of loss that Western Michigan suffered last week. They played an inferior team and lost. That happens very frequently in the MAC, where talent levels are close. Akron can work its way back into the division with a win in two weeks at Buffalo, but not the way the team played tonight.
While coaching pushed Akron ahead last week, it was the sword that speared the Zips tonight.