Zips Embarrassed by Cyclones, Fall to Iowa State 41-14

Written by: Peter Palmer, WZIP Sports

The Akron Zips looked to improve their record this week to 2-1 while hosting the Iowa State Cyclones. The sun was beating down for a good day of football, but the weather soon turned cloudy which seemed to be the story for the Zips.

The Zips were held scoreless in the first quarter, being forced to punt their first three possessions and producing only 34 total yards. Meanwhile, Iowa State was quick to attack and took the lead 14-0 behind a 7-yard reception to Allen Lazard and a 1-yard carry by Mike Warren.

The momentum began to shift when Thomas Woodson hit Kwadarrius Smith in stride for a 45-yard touchdown pass halfway through the second quarter. Woodson started to heat up, completing 12-16 for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns in the second quarter alone. Unfortunately, a costly fumble led the Cyclones to maintain a 20-14 lead going into the half.

Akron couldn’t continue with its momentum as things started to fall apart in the second half. On the offensive side, Woodson wasn’t able to find a rhythm, threw an interception in the third quarter and didn’t produce any points before he was relieved by Kato Nelson who threw an interception of his own.

All day, Warren Ball wasn’t able to continue his offensive dominance that he showed last week against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. This was true of all the rushers on the day, with Akron only having 38 rushing yards on the day.

The defensive side was a similar story. Aside from the two offensive turnovers giving the Cyclones good field position, Iowa State had an impressive 508 total yards resulting in 41 points on the day. Akron will need to regroup and improve their defensive coverage before next week’s game. The Zips fall to Iowa State 41-14 and become 1-2 on the season.

Next week, Akron will be tested again as they travel to face the Troy Trojans on the road. Kickoff is set for 6 PM on Saturday, September 23rd. This will be the first of two road games before the Zips come back to play in Infocision Stadium.

Offensive MVP: Leading the Zips in yards was Kwadarrius Smith, who was responsible for one of the two Akron touchdowns on the day. Despite only having three receptions, he was able to run for 76 yards on the day.


Defensive MVP: Continuing his high level of defense from last week, Ulysees Glibert led the Zips in tackles with 12. For a team that gave up 508 total yards to the Cyclones, Gilbert was able to mildly weather the storm. Hopefully he continues to show up for the Zips throughout the season.

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Ball Breaks Out in 52-3 Win Over Golden Lions

Following a 52-0 throttling at the hands of Penn State last week in Happy Valley, the Zips looked to rebound this Saturday in their home opener against the Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions.

Warren Ball, who had missed almost all of last year after suffering an injury in the opener against Wisconsin, got the Zips offense off to a lightning fast start. Right after ripping off a 21-yard gain, Ball once again bounced off would-be tacklers on his way to a 12-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 Zips.

The Akron defense, who was at the mercy of Penn State’s offense last week, asserted itself early in this one with 2 quick 3 and outs. The latter would help set up good field position for the Zips, as quarterback Thomas Woodson would find AJ Coney for a 15-yard strike to make it 14-0 Zips.

Ulysees Gilbert, who was a non-factor last week, made his presence known in this one. Early in the 2nd quarter, Gilbert picked off Golden Lions quarterback Brandon Duncan and took it 30 yards back to the house for a Zips touchdown. Warren Ball would also add another touchdown run, this time from just 8 yards out. The Zips would dominate the rest of the way in the first half, carrying a 31-3 lead at halftime.

The second half would play out like the first as it was all Zips. In the 3rd quarter, Akron would receive more insurance from their running backs. Warren Ball would cap off his day with another 8-yard scoring plunge, and Van Edwards (who came in to replace Ball) would also scamper in from 12-yards out for a score. The defense would continue to give Pine Bluff fits as Akron held a 45-3 lead after 3.

In the 4th and final frame it would be Deltron Sands finding the end zone for the Zips as he ran it in for a score from just 1-yard out. This would cap the scoring for the evening as the Zips would go on to win 52-3.

The Zips outmatched Pine Bluff in every facet, as expected. Akron took care of business as heavy favorites, outgaining the Golden Lions 464-168 in total yards. The Akron run defense, which was outside of the top 100 last year, held Pine Bluff to just 47 yards on the ground. Quarterback Brandon Duncan was also flushed out of the pocket all day and could not establish any sort of rhythm. He would finish with 12-23 passing for 105 yards and 2 interceptions.

Thomas Woodson, after really struggling last week in Happy Valley, had a much better performance this time around. He would go 15-21 passing 166 yards and one touchdown before backups Kato Nelson and Robbie Kelley came on to relieve him.

The Zips will be back home in action next Saturday when they host the Big 12’s Iowa State. Kickoff is set for 12 PM at Infocision Stadium. The team will be honoring Jason Taylor’s admission into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Offensive MVP: Warren Ball- 20 carries for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ball found running lanes early and often and never slowed down. It was his first multi-touchdown game as an Akron Zip.

Defensive MVP: Ulysees Gilbert- 10 tackles, one of those for a loss, and one interception that turned into a pick six. Gilbert is expected to really anchor the defense this year so this is a promising performance from him after a quiet week last Saturday at Penn State.

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John Groce Welcomed to UA, Excited to Continue Excellence with Basketball Program

Akron, Ohio – New University of Akron head coach John Groce certainly has big shoes to fill following Keith Dambrot’s departure from the program, and today’s press conference at the Starbuck’s Lounge in the Student Union showed Groce is ready for the challenge.

After leading his Ohio University Bobcats to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament in 2012, Groce went on to take over as head coach at Illinois for the next 5 seasons. After making the NCAA Tournament his first year there, Groce’s squads dealt with all sorts of injuries to key players, causing him to miss the big dance the next 4 years. Groce was let go by Illinois earlier this year following a loss to Michigan in the B10 Tournament.

Groce’s resume remains solid overall, however, posting a career coaching record of 180-131 with two MAC Tournament Championships and that Sweet 16 run mentioned earlier. Groce has also coached under current Ohio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta at Butler, Xavier, and Ohio State. Groce will look to bring that experience from higher level play with him in his return to the MAC.

Groce seemed confident in his ability to continue the tradition of excellence and commitment to winning that comes with Akron Zips basketball. Sure, the whole “21 win” streak is nice to have, but at the end of the day it’s all about getting that MAC Championship and getting to the NCAA Tournament. Now, that’s not a knock on Dambrot whatsoever. Making it to 9 title games and winning 3 of them is pretty darn good. However, KD is gone now and the focus on winning must continue. Groce plans to “attack” this year offensively and really push the pace. His defense will remain your standard man-to-man package with some zone looks “sprinkled” in to quote Groce. The Zips have played at a slower pace the past few years with big man Isaiah Johnson being the focus of the offense, so it will be interesting to see if Akron can get out in transition more and run. This would help them take on those P5 (power 5) schools in the non-conference schedule. Speaking of non-conference scheduling, Groce plans to challenge the players a bit while also being very meticulous about who he schedules. Groce says he does not want the team in a big-time matchup coming straight off a mid-term or finals week or something of that nature.

Coach acknowledged the difficulties and transition that will come with recruiting players to come to Akron now. Groce says it’s “a challenging transition, but we’ll hit the ground running” in regards to getting those big-name recruits to continue to see Akron as a great future home.

Time will tell if John Groce can keep this program headed in the right direction. The Ohio-Akron rivalry is nothing to scoff at in the MAC, and Groce acknowledged this at the presser. He understands there’s maybe a few fans that still have some light distaste for him from his coaching days in Athens, but he seems confident he will be able to win everyone over and really get everyone on board for what he hopes to be a great stretch of Akron Zips basketball.

Check out the sound from today’s press conference out below!


Cavs tip-toe past Pacers in double OT

The LeBron vs. Paul George endeavor was entertaining throughout the course of the game last night in Cleveland. The Cavs topped the Indiana Pacers in double overtime with a tight score of 135-130. This game is a potential preview of a first-round playoff matchup.

LeBron finished with his 11th triple-double of the season, and poured in a resounding 41 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists. On the other hand, Paul George had 43 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. In the double OT thriller, LeBron put in 51 minutes, and George countered with 48.

LeBrons extended minutes had to accommodate for Kyrie’s off night, while shooting 5/20 from the field. J.R Smith continued to heat up tonight while shooting 6/11 from deep, and hitting the clutch go ahead shot to send the game to overtime.

Playoff time is here, and LeBron is playing an extended amount of minutes to make sure that the Cavs end the season strong. As of right now, the Cavs are neck and neck with the Boston Celtics for first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavs have six games left, that includes a back to back that finishes with a trip to Boston for a final regular season showdown. The race for the top spot in the East is getting tighter and tighter, and the Cavs have limited time to build cohesion within the roster.



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Kent State Wins 2017 Mens MAC Championship

The Kent State Golden Flashes defeated the Akron Zips to win the MAC Men’s Basketball Championship, 70-65. Kent State led for most of the game, but Akron came within striking distance on multiple occasions.

The Flashes got out to a quick 9-3 lead thanks to a quick 5 points from Jaylin Walker (#23), and another 4 from Jimmy Hall (#35). Kent state got into early foul trouble, with 5 fouls overall just 9 minutes into the game. De La Rosa (#1) accounted for 2 of those fouls. Akron played from behind for most of the first half, and it wasn’t until 3:30 remaining that the Zips took the lead. Josh Williams hit a clutch 3 bringing the fans back into the game with a score of 23-21. Kent state quickly answered with back to back field goals to retake the lead. Both teams traded shots in the last minute of the first half, heading into the locker rooms with a score of 27-24 Kent state.

Both teams shot under 45% from the field during the 1st half. Kent State lead Akron in points in the paint and 2nd chance opportunities. Akron’s bench made an impact, scoring 8 of the Zips 24 points. Neither team had much luck from the 3 point line, with both teams combining for 2 3-pointers in 13 attempts. MAC Player of the Year Isaiah Johnson led the Zips in the 1st half with 10 points, while Jaylin Walker and Jimmy Hall lead the Golden Flashes with 11 and 10 points respectively.

Kent State came out hot in the 2nd half, taking a 36-28 lead. Less than 2 minutes later, Akron narrowed the lead to 34-36. Jaylin Walker responded with only the 3rd 3 pointer of the game, with Kent State leading 39-34. Akron finally tied up the game again with 11:15 remaining in the second half. For the next few minutes, the lead changed 3 times, with neither team ever more than 2 points ahead of the other. With 4:24 remaining, Kent State had an 8 point lead thanks to an 10-0 run. The Flashes held unto their lead despite the Zips best efforts, who could only get within 3. Kent State won a hard-fought victory, 70-65. Isaiah Johnson and Jimond Ivey both finished with 24 points for the Zips.

A huge part of Kent State’s upset victory can be attributed to their 63.9% field goal completion percentage in the second half. Jaylin Walker finished with 30 points, 6 rebounds, and was voted MAC Tournament MVP. Jimmy Hall finished with 18 points and led both teams with 10 rebounds. They will move onto the NCAA Tournament, and the bracket will be released tomorrow.

Akron Head Coach Keith Dambrot gave Kent State credit for making so many big plays in the last 8 minutes, and congratulated Kent State Head Coach Rob Senderoff for turning their team into championship quality. Rob Senderoff accredited the win to their shooting percentage and also their low number of turnovers, only committing 6.

Here’s what Coach Dambrot had to say: