Defense holds strong against Akron in the red zone
It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.
The performance on the defensive side of the ball has been less than impressive through seven games this season, but, in game eight, it did enough to secure a win.
“Our defense gave up some yards, but, overall, I think they played pretty well,” head coach Dan Enos said. “ The defense gave our offense some turns to possess the ball.”
Coming into Saturday’s game, the Central Michigan defense was giving up an average of 464 yards per game. Against Akron’s Mid-American Conference top passing attack, the Chippewas gave up 492 yards, but two stops in the redzone on fourth down were huge for CMU.
The first fourth down stop came on Akron’s first possession of the game, after the Chippewas scored. The Zips had the ball first and goal on the CMU nine-yard line.
After two short completions from Dalton Williams to Keith Sconiers, the Chippewas stuffed an Akron run for no gain on third down. An incomplete pass on fourth down gave CMU the ball.
The second came in the fourth quarter with the Chippewas leading 28-14.
The Zips had the ball on the CMU six-yard line. The Chippewas then forced three-straight incomplete passes after a short run by Akron to retain the ball and essentially ended the hopes of a comeback.
“Those fourth down stops were huge,” Enos said.
Sophomore linebacker Justin Cherocci said after the game that, when the defensive unit is in the huddle in the redzone, the talk is about pulling together and making big plays.
The Chippewa defense also forced two turnovers against the Zips, a pair of interceptions.
“There were times in the game when the defense played very well,” Enos said. “We got some three and outs, and, as a result, the offense had a short field to work with.”
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