BOWLING GREEN, Ohio: After a series of first quarters in games that saw the Akron Zips (1-4, 0-1) tally three points total for the season in that period, the Zips made a fervent effort to come out quickly. Next time they might want to finish.
The Zips took a 14-3 lead in that first quarter against the Bowling Green Falcons (4-1,2-0) only to give up 28 unanswered points and allow the Falcons and in particular their running back Travis Greene dominate the rest of the way en route to a 31-14 loss at Doyt Perry Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Travis, a player who came in the game averaging 102.2 yards per game, not only ran over the Zips with 142 yards on 24 carries, but he damaged them to the tune of 71 yards receiving on four receptions, a career high. He scored two touchdowns. BG racked up 396 total yards on offense
The defense had moments when they battered Falcons quarterback with six first-half sacks, but passing wasn’t the problem then. The Falcons running game proved to be an altogether different story as starting running back Travis Greene racked up yardage in chunks to move the ball for his team.
Greene came into the game averaging 102.2 yards per contest. By the end of the first half he’s already racked up 95 against the Zips defense.
The Zips felt his presence even more in the second half with momentum shifted decidedly in the Falcons favor. UA went three-and-out on their first possession and punted the ball where BG took over at their on 31. Eleven plays later they hit pay dirt after a William Houston two-yard TD plunge.
The Falcons can thank Greene’s efforts on the drive. Held without a reception at halftime, he caught three balls for 41 yards on the drive as he just bided his time until BG quarterback Matt Johnson found him after check downs on that drive. He also added eight yards rushing.
However, he wasn’t finished. Moments later, BG quarterback Matt Johnson, who avoided the Zips’ rush in the second half by rolling out to seek out his receivers, found himself scrambling and hit Greene with a short shovel pass that he took 30 yards for a 24-14 lead at the 1:41 mark of the third quarter. For good measure he added an 11-yard TD run later.
UA unleashed a quick strike early on to take a rare first quarter lead after surviving an interception scare and being granted a first down on a questionable pass interference call. Moments later quarterback Kyle Pohl found sophomore wide receiver L.T. Smith streaking down the far side line wide open for a 51-yard TD reception.
With the defense playing stout early on, the Zips, led by Pohl and another assist from a BG penalty, this time on a defensive hold, marched 72 yards on 12 plays for a touchdown drive capped by a three-yard run by their quarterback to give the Zips a 14-3 lead.
But despite that effort it soon became a case of this time around that the Zips would have to finish as well as they started. The score tells the story.
Quick hits: Wide receiver Dee Frieson was out for the Zips and backup quarterback Nick Hirschman didn’t even make the trip with the team to Bowling Green.