SLIDESHOW: Saturday’s win snaps four game losing skid, Chippewas get MAC victory against Akron
Before Saturday, the last Central Michigan Mid-American Conference win came Oct. 29, 2011 at Akron.
Exactly 363 days later, the next MAC win for the Chippewas came; it was Saturday with a 35-14 score against Akron again at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in front of a 10,172 announced attendance.
Junior running back Zurlon Tipton ran away any hopes Akron had for its first two-win season in three years with a career day. Tipton had career-highs for rushing yards, carries, longest rush and tied a career-high of three touchdowns.
“We decided at halftime we needed to stay persistent with the running game,” head coach Dan Enos said. “The defense came out and got a turnover and three and out (after halftime).”
CMU scored two touchdowns in the first few minutes of the third quarter, taking a previously close game to 28-7, helping to snap a four-game losing streak.
It all began when senior safety Jahleel Addae caught his second interception in as many weeks on the opening second-half possession. Tipton scored his second touchdown of the day three plays later.
On the next Chippewas drive, senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff placed a well-lofted toss in sophomore Titus Davis’ hands for their second touchdown connection of the game.
Akron cut the lead to 28-14, but a 7:34-minute fourth quarter drive in which Tipton had 12 carriers out of the 13 plays ended any chances of a comeback. He scored on a six-yard touchdown run, on his 10th consecutive carry.
“The drive ending the game is something I’m really proud of,” Enos said. “To control the line of scrimmage and play tough – it was a nice way to end the game.”
Tipton had 243 rushing yards on 37 carries. It was his second consecutive 100-yard game and was the eighth-most rushing yards in a single game in program history.
“When we play teams we can run the football against, we have to do it,” Enos said.
He got CMU on the scoreboard quickly with a career-high 72-yard sprint down the Akron sideline on the second play of the game.
Twice, the Chippewa defense did not allow the Akron offense to score within its own six-yard line. Early in the fourth quarter, the Zips had a chance to make it a one-score game, but CMU stopped them on four straight downs for the second time in the game.
Davis gave the Chippewas a 14-7 lead when he caught a short crossing pass and took it 27 yards to the end zone. He had four catches and 112 yards and now has seven touchdowns in eight games this season.
“Whenever Titus touches the ball, good things happen,” Enos said. “Titus is very explosive, has excellent ball skills and is fast.”
Akron got on the board with a nine-yard pass from quarterback Dalton Williams to Dee Frieson in the first quarter to tie the game at 7-7.
Senior defensive back Lorenzo White had his first interception of the year in the second quarter.
The first defensive stand came on the first Akron possession. After going 73 yards on 11 plays, the defense stuffed the Akron offense on consecutive plays from its own one-yard line.
Rival Western Michigan (3-6) comes to Mount Pleasant for a 1 p.m. game Saturday.
“This is a big confidence booster heading into next week,” sophomore linebacker and Saturday’s leading tackler Justin Cherroci said.
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