There’s little denying that defensively, the Akron Zips 16-7 win over the Kent State Golden Flashes represented one of the defense’s best Saturday’s of work, but the offense had its moments too, especially on the game’s opening drive.
The Zips marched straight down the field to open the game with a four-play, 78-yard drive that featured some some gutsy play and trickeration.
After getting little in their first two plays, the Zips faced a third-and-10 at their 22. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Pohl dropped back and found true freshman Fransohn Bickley for a 45-yard gain to the Kent State 33.
On the very next play, Pohl lateraled to wide receiver Zach D’Orazio who found a wide open L.T. Smith for the game’s first touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
“Zach's a versatile player. Being an ex-quarterback, we know he can throw, so we can use him in a lot of ways. We just needed the right time to do it and that was the perfect time right there and he executed it well,” quarterback Kyle Pohl said.
That was supposed to be the game’s opening play, but field position dictated when it was called coach Terry Bowden said.
Bickley’s reception was the key, the Zips coach said. Without it, that series was over.
For a group of seniors, including some fifth-years, who watched the wheel be lost several seasons ago, the win wipes away years of frustration.
“I'm just ecstatic,” said senior defensive tackle Nico Caponi, “I watched us lose in my freshman year and waiting, clawing and fighting to get it back the past four years, everything has definitely paid off.”
Pohl, who completed 8-of-19 passes for 98 yards, the victory completed one of his goals.
“For me it's just big to get this for the seniors. They lost it when they were freshmen,” he said. “To get it back for their final season is all the work they put in for five years, all the captains out there, that's who I wanted it for to see them lift the wheel is unbelievable. It's a good feeling. I was just happy to see them with the wheel back in their hands.”
The Zips now have tripled their win total from the prior three seasons. Bowden said there are plenty steps left for the program to take, but there is a reality.
“Somewhere along the line, you have to get that one,” he said of beating Kent State.