University of Akron coach Terry Bowden was still awash in the glow of the victory over Kent State on Saturday when he fielded questions in his Monday morning conference call.
“It was just a great win,” Bowden said of the Zips’ 16-7 victory against the Golden Flashes at InfoCision Stadium. “The seniors fulfilled their obligation to bring the Wagon Wheel back. That’s as meaningful a game that I’ve been a part of.”
And with that win, comes something immeasurable for his team — rest. The Zips won’t take the field again until Nov. 16 for an away game with University of Massachusetts.
Considering their schedule, it’s a well-earned respite.
The 10 opponents that they’ve played thus far have a combined 54-30 record and eight of them appeared in bowl games last season. It should be noted that those 10 teams came consecutively with no bye week. No one can fault Bowden if he’s looking forward to a break.
“I sense the players need some rest,” he said.
If nothing else, it will allow minor injuries to heal while they await their next on-the-field effort. It also marks the beginning of a less-than-busy November for the team.
After facing UMass, they will play their final game of the season at home against Toledo on Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving and a big holiday shopping day.
Bowden is pragmatic about the situation.
“I don’t know if it’s good or bad,” he said of this week’s break. “Whatever situation we have is the best one for us.”
The University of Akron Athletic Department made a class move by bringing back former Zips coach Jim Dennison, who was replaced as UA coach back in 1985.
About 200 former players joined Dennison at a pregame reception at InfoCision Stadium.
“It meant a ton,” UA director of athletics Tom Wistrcill said. “Jim’s just a huge part of our history and just what he built here, not only from being a great coach and athletic director, but the legacy that he left with his players, is something they all feel really strong about. All of those former players, it’s kind of their connection to the university. To be able to have a day and honor him and his family, you could see how special it was for him to have 200-plus players back. … It was a great event. It was a great day and certainly a great way to honor him and the legacy he left here at the university.”
The dinner capped off a weekend that included Dennison addressing the team during the course of preparations for Kent State. Dennison amassed an 80-62-2 record with UA from 1973-85.
Running back Jawon Chisholm has been on a tear of late rushing for 402 yards and four touchdowns in his past three games.
But his individual effort against Kent State powered the team’s offense. Chisholm rushed for 151 yards on 27 attempts for 5.6 yards per carry. That production was enough for him to be selected player of the week for the MAC’s East Division.
Chisholm came up with the critical run of the game when he converted a third-and-11 from the Kent State 27, allowing kicker Robert Stein an easier shot at a field goal that gave the Zips a 16-7 lead, sealing the game.
“It’s a blessing and honor to be player of the week. There’s a lot of high caliber offenses with great players in the MAC,” Chisholm said via email. “My O-Line I thought was good up front so it was easy for me to do my job.”
Bowden gave credit for the win over Kent State to his defense and the kicking game. What was mostly glossed over, however, is the job that the defense did on Kent State’s Dri Archer, who was a non-factor.
Archer gained 52 yards on seven rushes and caught one pass for no gain. More important, he never reached the end zone.
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.