NCAA Game Summary - Akron at Michigan|
(Saturday, September 14th)
Final Score: (11) Michigan 28, Akron 24
Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - After beating Notre Dame last week in what
could be the Fighting Irish's last trip to Michigan Stadium for awhile, surely
Akron would not pose a threat to mighty Michigan in its first visit to the Big
The 11th-ranked Wolverines needed a late Fitzgerald Toussaint touchdown run
and a goal-line stand in the closing seconds to earn a 28-24 victory over the
Zips in another thriller.
"Their kids came in here like most Mid-American Conference schools are going
to come in here, to win the football game and play to win the football game,"
said Michigan coach Brady Hoke.
"And they coached it that way, they played it that way."
Toussaint's 2-yard touchdown run with 2:49 remaining gave Michigan the lead,
but Akron marched from its own 25 to the Michigan 2. Jawon Chisholm was
stopped for a loss of two yards and the Zips called their final timeout with
just five seconds to play.
Akron quarterback Kyle Pohl dropped back to pass, but was pressured by
blitzing Michigan linebacker Brennen Beyer and threw incomplete in the end
zone as time expired.
Michigan was in control with a 21-10 lead and the ball in the first minute of
the fourth quarter, but Devin Gardner gave the Zips life. The quarterback who
led the Wolverines to last week's 41-30 win over the Irish, couldn't make a
play for most of the final period.
He tried to force a throw on a screen pass to Toussaint, but Justin March
stepped in front and cruised into the end zone from 27 yards away with the
interception to shift the momentum and pull Akron within four.
Akron's defense forced a three-and-out and the Zips quickly moved into
Michigan territory. A 43-yard pass from Pohl to L.T. Smith set up a first down
at the seven, but Jarron Wilson came up with an interception in the end zone
to keep the Wolverines in front.
Michigan again failed to pick up a first down and the Zips this time cashed
in. After a pair of third-down conversions, Pohl and Smith hooked up for 40
yards to the one, as a video review ruled the receiver down before he reached
the end zone. Two carries by Conor Hundley left Akron with a third down, but
Pohl calmly found Tyrell Goodman just inside the end zone from the one to put
the Zips in front with 4:10 remaining.
The Wolverines' offense, which produced a pair of third-quarter touchdowns,
finally kicked back into gear. Gardner broke free for 35 yards and hit Jeremy
Gallon for 20 to set up a first down at the Akron 15 before a pass
interference penalty set up Toussaint's go-ahead score.
Gardner was both good and bad Saturday. He ran for 103 yards with a touchdown
on 10 carries and threw for 248 yards with a pair of touchdowns, but was also
picked off three times and lost a fumble with the Wolverines threatening to
Toussaint finished with 71 yards on 19 carries for the Wolverines (3-0), who
will venture out on the road for the first time this season next week with a
trip to Connecticut.
Pohl finished 25-of-49 for 311 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions
in defeat. He said he knew his team had a chance to win by the way it played
in the first half.
"I think with how our defense was playing before we were even ahead we knew we
could beat them," Pohl said. "I knew we could move the ball as soon as we got
our offense straight, so I really was confident before we even went ahead
because of how our defense was playing.
"We were moving the ball, we just were not executing like we were in the
Smith had five catches for 125 yards and Zach D'Orazio hauled in six passes
for 97 yards with a touchdown for Akron (1-2), which was coming off a 35-33
win over James Madison after a 38-7 loss at UCF to open the season.
The Wolverines had a great start, scoring on their opening drive as Gardner
hooked up with Devin Funchess for a 48-yard score, but a poor punt after the
second series left Akron with great field position. The Zips, starting from
the Michigan 31, managed just four yards and settled for a 45-yard field goal
from Robert Stein.
Brendan Gibbons then missed a 45-yard field goal attempt for Michigan in the
first minute of the second quarter and the Wolverines followed with turnovers
on their next three possessions. Gardner was stripped by March inside the
Akron 20, then followed a Michigan interception by throwing a pick inside the
Akron marched into Michigan territory after DeAndre Scott's interception, but
Stein's 45-yard field goal try hit the left upright with 43 seconds left in
the half. March then picked off Gardner to give Akron one more opportunity
with 29 seconds remaining, but Stein came up well short on a 55-yard kick.
The Zips then stunned the home crowd with a 75-yard drive for a touchdown on
their first possession of the second half. Pohl found D'Orazio for a 28-yard
touchdown to give Akron a 10-7 lead, but Michigan appeared to take control
Toussaint broke free for 24 yards on the first play after the kickoff and
added four more yards before Gardner found an opening on the right side and
raced 36 yards for a touchdown to put the Wolverines back on top.
The Zips went three-and-out and pinned Michigan at its own eight, but Gardner
quickly rumbled 35 yards to ignite a 92-yard drive. He capped the 9-play set
with a 33-yard scoring pass to Jehu Chesson to make it 21-10.
Michigan has won 17 straight home games, the longest active streak among BCS
teams ... Akron has lost 28 straight road games and last won away from home on
Oct. 28, 2008 at Eastern Michigan ... Gibbons had a string of 16 straight
field goals made halted in the second quarter ... Akron fell to 1-23 all-time
against ranked opponents since joining Division I-A in 1987 and also dropped
to 1-24 versus current members of the Big Ten.
09/14 17:52:17 ET