Another noble effort netted nothing in the win column for the Akron Zips on Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. as they lost to the Northern Illinois Huskies 27-20.
UA quarterback Kyle Pohl connected on 24-of-56 pass attempts for 262 yards a touchdown with one interception and running back Jawon Chisholm scored two touchdowns in the loss.
Reigning Mid-American Conference MVP Jordan Lynch completed 16-of-35 passes for 262 yards, a touchdown and ran for 83 yards and a score in a game in which both teams got in their punches.
Despite being down 27-20 with 1:21 left, the Zips still had an opportunity to tie the score.
The defense, playing stout all night, prevented the Huskies from getting a crucial first down that would have allowed them to run the clock out. Linebacker Justin March and company met Huskies’ running back Cameron Stingily in the backfield for a 2-yard loss and still another shot.
That came on the very next play when Akron blocked its second field-goal attempt of the night to give Pohl and the offense a first-and-10 from the Akron 32 with 1:14 left in the game. Unfortunately, the Zips encountered problems that plagued them throughout the game as the Huskies’ pass rush harassed Pohl and forced bad throws as he tried to avoid being sacked. The last gasp came on a fourth-and-10 at their 45, but the UA quarterback overthrew wide receiver L.T. Smith.
The early evening game started promising enough. The Zips attacked with the first drive to take a 7-0 lead when Chisholm scored on a dive over his offensive line into the end zone.
Coach Terry Bowden said earlier in the week, according to reports, that responsibility for the game would fall to the offense because he expected his unit to have to match an NIU offense that averaged 42.5 points per game, but the defense kept them in the game. Sure they had moments when they gave up plays, but there will be very few teams that will be able to bottle up Lynch in a manner similar to the Zips.
The UA defense held strong — very strong, but even as the Huskies held a 24-14 lead in the game, the offense’s inability to take advantage of its teammates’ efforts foreshadowed the outcome.