The University of Akron offense, led by quarterback Dalton Williams and running back Jawon Chisholm, displayed Bowdenball’s full potential Saturday at InfoCision Stadium in a 66-6 drubbing of Morgan State.
The win was the first of the year for the Zips, who broke or tied eight records.
Williams completed 37-of-48 passes for 446 yards and three touchdowns, coming up nine yards short of the school record set in the 2005 Motor City Bowl. Those stats came at a price. Williams left the game with a possible rib injury with seconds left in the third quarter.
The numbers alone are impressive, but no more than how Williams accumulated them. He connected with 11 receivers. Three receivers — Marquelo Suel, Zach D’Orazio and Keith Sconiers — each caught six passes. In all, 13 receivers caught passes for the Zips.
“It shows the talent we have on offense,” Williams said. “It’s just plug and play anywhere you have to. It’s good to get them in the game and get them catches and keep building their experience for down the road when we need them.”
UA coach Terry Bowden agreed.
“I think they’re going to get better and better as they get more experience,” he said.
The passing game sparked the offense, but the running game, led by Chisholm’s 129 yards on 18 carries, helped to keep the Bears off balance.
“I felt more comfortable and I got a lot of coaching from the first game to the third one,” Chisholm said. “Basically, the coaches helped me out and [just] being more comfortable.”
Although he suffered a mental lapse — inadvertently running out of bounds on what should have been an easy touchdown — Chisholm might have clinched his featured back spot.
The Zips played as if they could score against anyone in spots, rolling up a school-record 753 yards and breaking another with 66 points, but it took awhile for the defense to find its groove.
In the second half, the Bears could find no traction offensively. The Zips’ defensive line, led by defensive ends J.D. Griggs, Cody Grice, Albert Presley and Nico Caponi, harassed Bears quarterbacks for much of the afternoon and their swarming teammates finished the job.
They gave up six points on two field goals, and it appeared as though the Bears could make things difficult for the Zips.
But the Zips shut out the Bears in the second half, limiting Morgan State to 68 yards in the final two quarters and 200 yards for the game.
“It was real big because we pride ourselves on not letting them get past the 20, so it was real big stopping them [with] two field goals and not letting them get past the 30 after that,” senior defensive end Griggs said.
Coach Bowden sounded relieved by the performance of the defense.
“As much as the offensive stats were impressive, the defense and the way that they played is what I needed to have happen the most,” he said.
He got what he wanted, and the Zips got their first win in the Bowden era.
“I’m just so happy for our players,” Bowden said. “I’ve been so down after last week because I wanted them to have a big win, but that was something that happened that was beyond my imagination.”
The Zips tied or set school records for points scored (66), first downs in a game (43), passing yards in a game (565), passing attempts (59), completions (44), individual completions by a quarterback (37 by Williams) and a MAC record with 565 passing yards by a team.
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.