MAC Pepsi Players of the Week
The Akron Zips (6-2, 4-1 MAC) capped an amazing comeback from a 23-0 deficit with 22 fourth-quarter points in winning their fourth game in a row, 35-29 over Navy (2-5) Saturday afternoon at Annapolis. The win boosted UA's record to 6-2, securing the school's first winning season since the 1992 squad went 7-3-1. Down 29-13, the Zips closed to 29-22 on a six-yard run by Brandon Payne, who also added the two-point PAT on a pass from Butchie Washington. Payne then returned a punt 66 yards at the 11:05 mark and Washington ran for another two-point conversion to tie the game at 29.
With 6:52 remaining, Jimmie Gray ran for a touchdown from 11 yards out but the PAT kicking attempt was blocked. UA held the Midshipmen from that point on for what was called "the greatest win I've seen by an Akron football team", from former Akron president Marion Ruebel, who spent 29 years at the school. The Akron defense held Navy to 128 rushing yards after the Midshipmen came into the game averaging 282 rushing yards per game, third best in the nation.
The #15 ranked Marshall Thundering Herd (7-0, 4-0) rolled over Buffalo (0-7, 0-6), 59-3 to keep its grip on first place in the MAC East. Quarterback Chad Pennington threw for five touchdown passes in becoming the sixth player in NCAA history to throw 100 touchdown passes. David Foye caught two of Pennington's scoring strikes for the Herd, who led 38-3 at the half. UB's points came on a 30-yard field goal by Scott Keller. Marshall held a 567-196 advantage in total offense. Pennington completed 20-of-25 passes for 339 yards.
MAC West leader Western Michigan (6-2, 5-0) produced its first shutout in three years with a 28-0 whitewash of Ball State (0-7, 0-4). The Broncos' Tim Lester threw a touchdown pass in each quarter and finished 26-of-41 for 296 yards. The WMU defense held the Cardinals to 209 yards. The Broncos got all the points they needed on Lester's 12-yard TD pass to Corey Alston at the 5:05 mark in the first quarter.
Northern Illinois (4-4, 4-1) routed Kent (1-7, 1-4) 50-7 for its fourth straight win, the school's longest winning streak since 1990. William Andrews had first-half TD runs of three and one yard and Benji Peacock scored on a 67-yard interception return and a 77-yard fumble return in the third quarter. Kent's lone points came on a Jose Davis to Matt Curry 25-yard pass in the fourth quarter.
Ohio (3-5, 3-2) held off a late rally by Bowling Green (2-6, 1-5) for a 17-10 win in Athens. Joe Sherrill and Raynald Ray scored on first-half runs of six and 28-yards, respectively, as the Bobcats built a 17-0 halftime lead. Kurt Gerling caught a 14-yard pass from Ricky Schneider in the third quarter and Joe Alls added a 59-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter for the Falcons. Ohio forced five BG turnovers and held a 349-251 advantage in total offense.
Eastern Michigan's (3-4, 3-2) 20-13 win over Toledo (3-4, 2-3) was sparked by a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown by Lincoln Dupree. Dupree's second-quarter heroics tied the game at 10-10. EMU went ahead for good on a two-yard touchdown run by Reggie Gage at the 7:52 mark in the third quarter. EMU fumbled the ball six times but did not lose any of those miscues. Walt Church completed 20-of-29 passes for 210 yards for EMU and Toledo was paced by Chester Taylor's 109 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Akron 35, Navy 29
Marshall 59, Buffalo 3
Northern Illinois 50, Kent 7
Western Michigan 28, Ball State 0
Eastern Michigan 20, Toledo 13
Ohio 17, Bowling Green 10
This Week's Games
Central Michigan at Bowling Green, noon/FOX Sports Net Regional
Cincinnati at Miami, 12:30/WXIX-TV (Cincinnati FOX)
Louisiana Tech at Toledo, 1:00
Ohio at Ball State, 1:00
Western Michigan at Akron, 1:30
Buffalo at Kent, 2:00
Eastern Michigan at Central Florida, 4:00
Northern Illinois at Marshall, 4:00/FOX Sports Net Pittsburgh and WDRL-TV