COLUMN: Report card for football team against Akron
Saturday’s football game between Central Michigan and Akron was a must-win for CMU.
Akron is a team that has won just one game all season and three games in the last three seasons. As it turns out, the Chippewas won easily and kept their hopes for a bowl game alive for another week. So let’s hand out some grades.
Passing Offense: (B) Senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff was efficient, completing 15-of-25 passes while throwing for 180 yards and two touchdowns. More importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over. Radcliff wasn’t asked to do much because of the success the Chippewas had on the ground. Sophomore wide receiver Titus Davis was Radcliff’s favorite target on the day. He had four catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
Rushing Offense: (A) Junior running back Zurlon Tipton ran for a career-high 243 yards on 37 carries, also a career high. He also scored three touchdowns for the second time this season. It was apparent Tipton was in for a big game from the start. He scored on a 72-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage. Freshman Saylor Lavallii was effective as well, gaining 22 yards on five carries.
Passing Defense: ( C ) Akron came into Saturday’s game as the top passing team in the Mid-American Conference, and the Zips didn’t disappoint against CMU. Dalton Williams threw for 329 yards and two touchdowns. The Chippewas did intercept him twice, however – one by senior cornerback Lorenzo White and one by senior safety Jahleel Addae. CMU also played well in the red zone, stopping Akron on fourth down twice.
Rushing Defense: (B) CMU allowed the Zips to rush for 140 yards, 92 of which were gained by freshman running back Conor Hundley. CMU didn’t allow any rushing touchdowns. It was a much-improved effort from a group that has struggled against the run this year.
Special Teams: ( C ) Senior kicker David Harman missed his only field goal attempt from 41 yards out in the third quarter. Punter Richie Hogan was improved in the punting game, averaging 44.7 yards per punt. The Chippewas still didn’t gain much in the return game, however. Overall, special teams didn’t play a huge role in the game. Harman’s missed field goal is the main reason for the low grade.
Overall: (B+) The Chippewas had to win this game against a weak Akron team. The game was at home, and CMU couldn’t afford to head into next week’s rivalry game with Western Michigan on a five-game losing streak. During Saturday’s game, the Chippewas got an early lead and ran the ball with Tipton, a ton. I think that’s a formula that could work for CMU in the future. A solid run game means Radcliff doesn’t have to throw as much, and that’s a good thing for the Chippewas.
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