Seniors couldn't wait to get the Wagon Wheel back. They did, but at a cost.
A knee injury probably ended captain John Mackey's Akron career. With their injured teammate screaming from the sidelines, Davanzo Tate and Reggie Corner reeled in crucial interceptions that allowed Akron to win the biggest game of the season over Kent State, 27-20.
The passing games were ugly with Julian Edelman and Carlton Jackson both having completion rates below 40 percent. The more important stat, for the Zips' purposes, is that Edelman rushed for only 65 yards on 20 carries. The Zips were able to contain him when it mattered most.
Two coaching decisions changed the course of the game. KSU's Doug Martin attempted a fake field goal in the first quarter, which the Zips snuffed out. Second, J.D. Brookhart went for it on fourth-and-3 in the beginning of the fourth quarter. While Kent State expected a run play or short pass, Jackson lofted a 26-yard pass for Jabari Arthur in the endzone.
Looking strictly at yardage, Akron resurrected its running game with 133 yards. But that was on 50 carries. Bryan Williams was the most effective back, rushing for 50 yards on 12 attempts. Alex Allen also looked good. Another disappointing performance by Dennis Kennedy makes me wonder whether the feature back is 100 percent healthy.
Eugene Jarvis was strong for the Flashes. He rushed for 159 yards, but surrendered a costly fumble late in the game. Jack Williams played a stellar game covering Arthur, and he will make an excellent NFL defensive back.
Brion Stokes led the Zips in tackles with 10. It was Akron's pass defense that truly kept the Zips alive until the offense awakened. It wasn't so much of an awakening as it was moseying to the refrigerator for a bottled water. Jackson led the offense on a few drives that the defense and special teams set up. On one kick return, in particular, Arthur fielded the ball and threw a backward pass to Bryan Williams who took the ball deep into Flashes territory.