Head coach Dan Enos said he wanted to give junior running back Zurlon Tipton more carries after the Oct. 20 loss to Ball State.
Saturday, he did — and it paid off greatly.
Tipton had 37 carries for 243 yards and three touchdowns in Central Michigan’s 35-14 win over Akron at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. The 243 rushing yards is tied for eighth-highest in Chippewa single-game history.
“Anytime you leave a mark at your school, it’s an honor,” Tipton said. “But it wasn’t just me. The whole team stepped up.”
Tipton has rushed for 10 touchdowns this season and is fifth in the Mid-American Conference in rushing yards with 871.
“I think Zurlon is just starting to show people what he can do,” Enos said. “When we can get into a game where we have the lead, we can give him more touches … that’s a good formula for us.”
But because CMU trailed most of the time in the previous four games, Tipton did not receive as many carries as the coaching staff would like.
Against the Cardinals, he averaged 7.4 yards per carry and had 126 yards on the ground, but the Chippewas fell behind early and were forced to try and move the ball through the air.
Saturday, however, CMU wasted little time getting on the board first and never trailed in the game.
On the second play from scrimmage, Tipton dashed down the visiting sideline for a 72-yard score.
“When I got through the line and saw I had one guy to beat, I thought in my head, ‘Just please beat this cut, and you got it,’ and, after that, it was easy,” Tipton said.
Despite carrying the ball a career-high 37 times, Tipton said he never felt fatigued.
“My confidence level just kept going up after every run,” he said. “I wasn’t tired at all. I was just ready for the next play.”
Akron head coach Terry Bowden said he was impressed with Tipton’s ability.
“The way that the Chippewas run their offense allows Tipton to be one of the core players on their team,” Bowden said. “When he is pounding those yards like he did throughout this game, it makes the game that much harder and longer. He is definitely one of the best running backs in the MAC.”