The Eastern Michigan Eagles (5-5, 2-4) defeated the Akron Zips (0-10, 0-6) on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at InfoCision Stadium in Akron, Ohio. The Eagles were led by senior running back Shaq Vann, who compiled 142 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries. EMU had six rushing touchdowns on the night.
“What I told the guys in the locker room was the last couple games had been tough. We had a couple extra days and it came at the right time. We prepared really well,” said head coach Chris Creighton. “It was a fun week. Guys came for the pregame warm up and they were fired up. We played hard, we played well and there was some complimentary football.”
Both teams started slow but Eastern Michigan found their groove late in the first quarter when Vann scored from six yards out. EMU added to their lead in the second quarter as Vann scored two more touchdowns. The first was a 19-yard rush and the second was from five yards out. Chad Ryland connected on both extra points to give the Eagles a 21-0 halftime lead.
“We prepare for a lot of what they did but they also spent time in the last 10 days coming up with some things that they hadn’t shown,” said Creighton. “I think that our offensive staff did a good job of responding to that and finding running game plays that were effective. It was good to see us moving the ball around.”
Just over five minutes into the second half, the Eagles punched in their fourth rushing touchdown. This time it was Willie Parker’s 11-yard run that put EMU up by 28 points. Mike Glass III, who has been dealing with injuries for the majority of the last month, scored a rushing touchdown of his own with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
Despite Akron’s offensive struggles, they did score a couple touchdowns after the game was already decided. The first came at the tail end of the third quarter as Kato Nelson hit Timothy Scippio on an 87-yard touchdown pass. Scippio got a step on his defender and there was no safety on that side of the field so he walked into the end zone.
Vann put some finishing touches on the Zips midway through the fourth quarter. He ran 17 yards for his fourth and final touchdown of the game. Nelson would add one more touchdown pass to Julian Hicks for Akron and the final score was 42-14, in favor of Eastern Michigan.
“We played far from perfect. It was just the energy and the commitment and response that our guys made to the situation,” Creighton said. “And then being ready for this game and the weather, just attacking it, you have to embrace it. Our guys did and played pretty good football.”
Glass completed 80% of his passes and totaled 246 passing yards. He also ran for 83 yards (10.4 yards per carry) and one touchdown. Matthew Sexton had a team-high 76 receiving yards. Vann was the clear cut player of the game, though, as he had a game-high 142 yards and four scores.
“From the very start in the walk through, we had juice. We knew the plan and we knew what we had to do. It feels good to play good,” said Vann. “We just have to keep it going into next week. We have to play complimentary football. The defense has to do their job and we have to go back out and do it on our end.”
The Eagles, who are now just one win away from reaching bowl eligibility, will look for their sixth win versus Northern Illinois on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill.
Akron will continue searching for its first win of the year as they travel to face Miami (OH) on Wednesday,