J.D. Brookhart outcoached another victim.
Alphonso Owen lateralled a free kick return to Andre Jones that turned a certain 38-33 Western Michigan win into a 39-38 three-fingered shocker for Akron.
Thanks to a key block from Andre Walker, Jones completed a 89-yard return to end the game in the Zips' favor.
"I'm just so happy for the team," Brookhart said. "All I could think of was the Cal-Stanford game." (The band is on the field! The band is on the field!)
With 20 seconds remaining and a seven-point lead, the Broncos decided to run through their own end zone, taking a safety and free kick, rather than punting back to the Zips' offense, which had a boatload of momentum.
Brookhart dusted off another trick play that somehow got Jones wide open for a lateral and a free path to paydirt.
Frank Stams, the Zips announcer with an extensive football pedigree, said it was the best finish he has ever seen to a football game. He and Steve French turned the announcer's booth into a living room, shouting like madmen once Jones busted free. Who can blame them? Bill Morgan coined it the "Miracle in Kalamazoo." I will second that, conditioned upon a quick check that the nickname does not currently exist.
I was personally writing the Zips' obituary when the play occurred. In my notes, I wrote that WMU was stupid for taking the safety and introducing the possibility of losing in regulation.
Of course, the game never would have been close without career games from Chris Jacquemain and Jabari Arthur. Bryan Williams also picked up large chunks of yards in important situations.
Unfortunately, the game does not count for the division title. But almost undoubtedly, there will be a tie atop the MAC East standings at the end of the season, and a team's record in crossover games serves as the tiebreaker to see who goes to Detroit.
Chris Jacquemain may be somewhat cautious with his throws, but his football IQ is highly suspect. A smart quarterback does not jump for a first down, putting himself in a vulnerable position (except for John Elway). A smart quarterback does not look around the field before catching a shotgun snap. Jacquemain's stats were pretty good tonight, but he needs to polish up the little things. Further evidence is the end of the first half against Connecticut. "Chris continues to make good decisions. He's operating the offense like we need him to," Brookhart said.
The Montrose Chevrolet Cadillac (in Kent) commercial is ridiculous. Here's the watered-down gist of it: "Akron football players are losers who get blown out. You can be a winner at Montrose Chevrolet." Obviously, that wasn't the dealership's intent, but whoever wrote the ad is a total doofus. I'd be shocked if we heard it next week.
Coaches are converting Joe McDaniel from fullback to linebacker. Can't hurt.
Jabari Arthur solidified his status as an NFL draft pick tonight with 15 catches for 223 yards. It's very welcoming to see Alphonso Owen catch an important pass. I've been waiting for that for awhile.
I will have much more tomorrow.
Around the MAC...
Boston College blew out Bowling Green 55-24 in a game many observers thought could be an upset. The Falcons would have hung with the Eagles if not for six turnovers.
Central Michigan returned to form in beating Ball State, 58-38. Dan LeFevour threw for five touchdowns, perhaps as a statement to his opposite number Nate Davis, who submitted a disappointing performance.
Shocker of the day: Buffalo "curb stomped" Ohio 31-10, if I may steal a term from a colleague of mine. The Bulls rushed for 251 yards while limiting the Bobcats to 90 ground yards.
Miami beat Kent State 20-13. Both teams showcased potent offenses, but the Flashes suffered 10 penalties for 109 yards.
Temple won its first game of the year, beating Northern Illinois 16-15 with a last-minute field goal.
Toledo survived a scare from D-IAA Liberty. The Rockets won only 35-34 despite outgaining the Flames by more than 200 yards.
Eastern Michigan played close with Michigan, but the Wolverines took control in the third quarter to win 33-22. If the Eagles didn't have four turnovers, who knows?
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