Heartbreak in Cleveland

The Akron Zips dominated almost the entire game, but couldn’t finish the job. Akron’s season ends in the quarterfinals of the MAC tournament to Eastern Michigan, 67-58.

Post game Coach Groce took to the microphone to talk about the toughness his players showed. Akron started the game as well as they had all season, “I think this is maybe as good as we’ve played all year” Groce said addressing the media.

Coach Groce also elaborated on the two games the team endured this week. He commented saying “Obviously two different games, one where we’re down by 23 and come back and win, and this one we’re up 19 and not quite able to finish them off”.

Leading the way for the Zips was sophomore forward, Daniel Utomi who put in a 14 point effort. Malcolm Duvivier, playing in his final collegiate game, and Eric Parrish both chipped in 13 points, respectfully.

The Zips started off hot and got out to a 10-0 start. They showed no signs of being affected by Eastern Michigan’s 2-3 zone. Akron got the ball where they wanted, when they wanted and hit threes in the process.

Eastern Michigan was held to 32% shooting from the field in the first half, as junior forward, James Thompson IV was in foul trouble and only had 2 points entering halftime. The Zips continued to pull away and lead 31-22.

The second half was much more of the same in the beginning. The Zips were leading by 19 points with a little over 5 minutes left remaining in the game, but that is when things began to fall apart.

The game was chippy from start to finish including technical fouls being called on Coach Groce, James Thompson IV, and Tim Bond. The biggest technical was on Jimond Ivey, who received it by slamming the ball in front of the ref.

Ivey received the technical at the 8 minute mark in the second half, as the Zips lead by 11. From that point on, the Eagles went on a 22-5 run to end the game, and in the process finishing the Zips season.

The Eagles were paced by Elijah Minnie. The third team all-MAC selection had 21 points and 3 blocks. Eastern Michigan also got a combined 30 points from Tim Bond and Paul Jackson.

Eastern Michigan will move onto the semi-finals against Toledo, while Akron will be looking forward to the off-season.

Akron finishes the season 14-18 on the season, and 6-12 in conference play. The record will not show the growth the team has shown over the last month.

So ends the first season in the Coach Groce era. Akron will look to bounce back with a mostly returning roster. The season did not reach the same success as years prior, but it does give an insight into a young team with a bright future.

Akron loses big to FAU

Boca Raton, FLA. – The FAU Fighting Owls came prepared to the Boca Raton Bowl, and Akron Zips simply did not. Heading into the game, the Zips were the underdogs in the largest differential in a spread in Bowl history, with a spread of 22.5. The Owls were headed by first year head coach Lane Kiffin, and he capped off his first season in the same fashion that he played all year while leading his team to a 10-3 record.

The final score to the game was 50-3, and that was after FAU decided to let up on the gas with about ten minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Before that mark, the Fighting Owls had a firm grip in all three phases of the game. The standouts for the Fighting Owls were QB Jason Driskel, RB Devin Singletary, and WR’s Kalib Woods, Willie Wright, and Kamrin Solomon.

Driskel has had a spectacular season for the team, and capped the Bowl game off with 270 passing yards and a touchdown, and also included two rushing touchdowns with 67 yards on the ground. The feature back in Singletary lived up to all of his pregame hype will rushing for 124 yards, and three touchdowns. Wright was the prolific receiver for the Fighting Owls and he caught two touchdown passes for 71 yards.

The Zips stat line was not so impressive, but it did show promise for the young quarterback Kato Nelson and his future with the team. The issue was that the offensive line could not hold up, and Nelson ended up having 14 carries for only 21 yards. He only had 80 yards in the air as well, but he kept his composure when he knew his team was outmatched. The Zips leading receiver had a 2 catches for 28 yards, and that sums up the night for the offense.

Akron does have promise heading into the future, but will need to improve collectively with their roster if they plan on letting Kato shine. The Zips have made progress by making it to the Bowl game, but will need much more to win a MAC Championship or Bowl game in the near future.

Zips Upset Broncos in Sunday Showdown 14-13

By: Benjamin Verbel

The Akron Zips went on the road this week to face the Western Michigan Broncos. The Zips looked to slow down a Broncos offense that had a high scoring 71-68 win against Buffalo last week.

The game was delayed and then rescheduled due to lightning and flooding concerns. The first quarter started off with a Zips drive that lead to a 13 yard touchdown by Thomas Woodson to his Tight End Kobie Booker.
Akron brought more points to the board in the second quarter with a one yard run into the end-zone by Senior back Manny Morgan to cap off their drive. Morgan earned every touch with a 4.4 yard average on the ground.
Western Michigan matched Akron with a run-heavy game plan. They averaged 4.6 yards with five featured players. They totaled at 244 yards on 53 carries.
Bronco’s Josh Grant booted a 49 yard field goal to give them a 14-3 score before the second half.
Western Michigan receiver D’Wayne Eskridge was a big contributor for their offense. By the end of this match up he had a total of 100 all purpose yards and a 50 yard TD from Jon Wassink. At this point WMU was getting involved in the flow of the game and Josh Grant gave his team another three points with a 35 yard field goal.
Akron came out with a win after holding onto the lead they built in the first half. The Zips brought defense that didn’t break to this game with the likes of Defensive back Alvin Davis and Junior Linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III.
Both teams came out of this week with a 4-3 record. The Zips are currently on a 3 game winning streak. Akron will be the away team in a match up against the Toledo Rockets on Saturday, October 21st at 12:00 p.m.

Former UA Hooper Cheatham Records New Season High for Kangoeroes

Earlier today, Kwan Cheatham, former University of Akron power forward, helped lead Kangoeroes Basket Willebroek. Cheatham set a new season high in this fresh campaign, pouring in 18 points on an extremely efficient 7-8 shooting performance including 3-3 from three-point range. Cheatham also made his presence known on the defensive side of the ball, snagging 6 defensive boards and recording a blocked shot.

This is Cheatham’s first year with the team but is contributing nicely right away. He is already a starter and is able to stay on the floor, averaging just over 34 minutes per game. Kwan has also brought his scoring average up to about 12.5 PPG and is doing a great job on the glass, reigning in 6 RPG.

The Kangoeroes, a team in the Belgian Basketball League, now stands at 2-1 on the year and sit 4th out of 10th currently in the league standings.

The Kangoeroes next game is next Saturday against Proximus Spirou. Tipoff is set for 11:30 AM Eastern Time.

Zips Drop Close One to Troy, 22-17

By: Deontae Shahid

The Akron Zips were on the road this weekend to face off against the Troy Trojans. The Zips came into the game a 15.5-point underdog and were looking to pull off the upset. The Zips covered the spread but were unable to knock off the Trojans losing 22-17.

The Trojans fumbled on their first drive of the game which was recovered by the Zips. Akron turned the turnover into three points and looked to continue to play well in the beginning of the game.

The following drive for the Trojans would result in a touchdown after they picked up a key fourth down conversion that could have kept the pendulum swinging in favor of Akron. Troy would drive down the field again with the help from some Akron pass interference penalties to kick a field goal and put them up 10-3.

Troy would score another touchdown in the first half but miss the point after. Akron had a couple of chances to put more points on the board but would hurt themselves in two separate occasions.

Thomas Woodson threw an interception in the end zone while in Troy’s red zone. On the final drive before halftime, the Zips were in position to score again. After a holding penalty stalled their offense on the Troy seven-yard line, Tom O’Leary would miss a field goal with the time expiring to end the half causing for the Zips to go into halftime down 16-3.

The Zips continued to let red zone opportunities go to waste in the second half of the game. The Zips first possession of the second half resulted in a Woodson fumble after they drove all the way down to the Troy 19-yard line.

Akron would score a touchdown on their next drive after the Zips defense forced a turnover on downs. Woodson hit Kwadarrius Smith for a 29-yard touchdown pass putting the score at 16-10. Woodson and Smith would later connect on a 42-yard pass on a crucial third and long. Warren Ball would find the end zone on a 4-yard run on fourth down to put Akron up 17-16.

Late in the game, Troy would drive all the way from their three-yard line to score a touchdown with a minute and six seconds left to play. Troy failed to convert the two-point conversion giving the Zips a chance to win with a touchdown but sealed the game after a Woodson interception.

Akron was not able to capitalize on penalties by Troy who had 16 penalties for 159 yards in the game. The Zips had 12 penalties of their own for 100 yards continuing their penalty problems on the season.

Ball played well rushing for 112 yards and a touchdown. Woodson completed 20 of 40 passes for 268 yards, with one touchdown and 2 interceptions. Smith caught four receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown in the second half.

The Zips dropped to 1-3 on the season so far. The Zips will start their Mid-American Conference play against the Bowling Green Falcons on Saturday, September 30th at 6:00 p.m.