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Rasor's Edge on fans

By mrasor Published: December 6, 2005


Here is the Rasor's Edge. In case you were wondering where it was in the Buchtelite, it got moved to A1 instead of B1...

The Zips relied on Domenik Hixon all game.

The senior wide receiver caught several clutch passes to keep Akron alive against Northern Illinois for the Mid-American Conference Championship Thursday.

Less than four minutes remained in the fourth quarter and Akron trailed by six. After a seemingly routine kick return, Hixon was on his back - motionless with excruciating stomach cramps. If the Zips were going to operate their two-minute offense for a game-winning score, it looked like they would do it without Hixon - one of the conference's best receivers.

On the sidelines, Hixon eventually made it to his feet. Coach J.D. Brookhart was the first person he wanted to see. Hixon needed to convince his coach that he could play. He lobbied and lobbied. Just before the last play of the game, Brookhart put Hixon in the game.

If nothing else, Hixon could be a decoy. With 18 seconds left, quarterback Luke Getsy took the snap, stepped up in the pocket and launched a 36-yard ball to Hixon, who slid to make the game-winning catch in the end zone.

In Detroit, hundreds of Zips fans screamed and jumped and hugged and cried. In Akron, the mouths of thousands of community members dropped. In Houston, the men's basketball team heard the news while waiting for a flight to California. They shook a 747 jet in celebration.

In Atlanta, University of Akron alumnus Jim Hibbard puffed out his chest.

"I've got the Roo decal on my car, a pennant in my office," Hibbard said on my Zips blog. "It's great to feel proud."

Also on the blog, another fan said, "Our fans are usually lacking in school spirit but not on Thursday in Detroit. At the end of the game, we were hugging strangers and slapping high-fives with every Akron fan around us. It was nice to see the great turnout and be a part of this unforgettable experience."

And somewhere a high school senior probably watched the game with his dad. He was close to signing with a Big 10 team to play football, but now he might give Brookhart and Akron a chance.

I couldn't have written a more dramatic conclusion to the rollercoaster game. It was Hixon's determination and character. It was Getsy's poise and maturity. It was running back Brett Biggs' steadiness and endurance. Perhaps most important, it was Brookhart's brilliance and composure that won the MAC Championship.

"It was an unbelievable finish," the coach said after the game. "Things went back and forth. We were up, we were down, we were tied and we found a way to go 80 yards in 70 seconds."

After the MAC Championship trophy ceremony, Hixon had more people he had to see. He went over to the student section. He sounded like a broken record. Over and over he said, "Thanks for supporting us."

If this season has taught Zips fans anything, it is that fan support means so much. The soccer team lost on Saturday, but the players will say how much the crowds at Lee Jackson Field meant to their success. On Thursday, the football team seemed to draw on the crowd's chants for defense.

Expecting a strong Northern Illinois crowd, Zips players ran out of the tunnel to see their fans outnumbering the other team's supporters.

Talk about an adrenaline boost.

You can be part of the next Detroit thrill. The athletic department will pay to send students to Detroit on Dec. 26 for the Motor City Bowl against the University of Memphis.

If you are a student, you may buy $45 tickets for just $5. The university also will pay to bus you to Detroit.

I'm sure proud alumnus Jim Hibbard would love to be in your shoes.

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