OXFORD — It wasn’t the cleanest of games by any account, but ultimately the Miami RedHawks held on to their 20-17 victory over the winless Akron Zips last night at Yager Stadium. The result wasn’t going to change the fact that Miami is set to play in Detroit for the Mid-American Conference Championship, but it does give the RedHawks their seventh victory on the season and will likely ensure a bowl bid.
The game had a rather slow start until Sam Sloman put the RedHawks on the board first with a 44-yard field goal to give Miami the 3-0 lead after the first quarter.
The second quarter saw a bit more action, as Akron tied the game through Cory Smigel’s 33-yard kick. Miami retook the lead with Tyre Shelton scoring on a 21-yard run, before Jaylon Bester punched it in from one yard out to give Miami a 17-3 halftime lead.
However, Akron refused to go away. The hapless Zips are winless on the season, which allowed them to play with nothing to lose. The game took an interesting turn with about four and a half minutes left in the third quarter, as John Lako would intercept Brett Gabbert and return it for a 64-yard pick six. Suddenly the Zips were within a touchdown.
Miami managed a scoring drive, Sloman again hitting on a 23-yard field goal to give the RedHawks a 20-10 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Akron would close the gap again just inside the final stanza, Kato Nelson hitting Timothy Scippio on a 34-yard touchdown pass to make it a 20-17 RedHawk advantage.
The defense would step up big to force Akron into a punt with short time left and Bester picked up the key first down to then ice the clock.
It was certainly not the best game for Miami, but a win is a win in a somewhat unpredictable MAC. The RedHawks will finish out the season next weekend Friday at Ball State. The following weekend, on Saturday December 7, Miami will play for the conference championship. The West Division winner is yet to be determined, but it will likely be either Western Michigan or Central Michigan.
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