RedHawk rally comes up short in loss to Akron
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 01:10
BY Joe Gieringer Senior Staff Writer
Despite a furious fourth quarter comeback, the Miami University football team fell 24-17 to the University of Akron Zips on a chilly homecoming afternoon.
The ’Hawks found themselves in a hole early after a blocked punt set up a score at 12:09 of the first quarter by Akron redshirt junior running back Jawon Chisolm, but they bounced back with a sustained drive that ended in a touchdown catch from junior wide receiver David Frazier a few minutes later.
The third quarter was a leaky one for the injury-plagued Miami defense, who were without redshirt senior defensive tackle and co-captain Austin Brown, among others. Chisholm scored two rushing touchdowns and the Zips powered a chip shot field goal through in a three-minute and 14 second span.
The RedHawks refused to go away though. In the final six minutes, they picked up 105 yards, recovered an onside kick, and put up 10 points, which included a game-long 44-yard touchdown pass from redshirt senior quarterback Austin Boucher to junior wide out Dawan Scott on a designed roll out to Boucher’s left. It was not enough and Akron improved to 2-6 as it ran out the clock after a failed second onside kick attempt.
Though the outcome was disappointing for Miami, the RedHawks recorded a season-high 303 yards of total offense, and nabbed 18 first downs on the afternoon. The defense also forced two fumbles on its own goal line, denying the Zips a touchdown twice. Savvy red zone play kept Miami in it until the last seconds, but time, was not on its side.
“There’s a lot of positives that we can pull from this but again, it’s got to be about getting wins,” interim head coach Mike Bath said. “I thought from a quarterback perspective, in the last two series of the game our decision making was as clean as it’s been the past two weeks and almost the whole season.”
Boucher finished the game with 226 yards through the air, two touchdowns and a pick. He completed 23 of his 34 passes. Akron sophomore quarterback Kyle Pohl had eerily similar numbers, with 227 yards and 23 completions on 32 attempts.
Though Boucher finished with a solid performance, he was sacked six times and hurried many more. The offensive line struggled to contain the blitz packages and stunts that were thrown in their faces all afternoon. Boucher said that “two weeks are better than one” with the new offense, but it’s still a work in progress.
“I think everyone’s picking this offense up a lot better,” Boucher said. “We were able to move the ball and the plays we wanted were there. We had those opportunities … we just need to capitalize when we’re there.”
With the loss, Miami is now dead last in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) East and tied for last place overall in the MAC with Eastern and Western Michigan University who are 0-3 and 0-4 in conference play, respectively. Their next attempt at a win will be on the road next weekend in Athens, Ohio, when the RedHawks take on rival Ohio University.
Though the going is tough, Bath said he is sure his team is still committed to the season – no one is giving up on this football team.
“To sit [in the locker room] and walk and talk and see multiple kids wiping tears out of their eyes, that tells me that these young men are still in; they’re fine,” Bath said.