After allowing 48 points to Toledo in the previous meetings between the teams, Akron coach Terry Bowden said the Zips will have to limit the damage done by the Rockets offense early in the Mid-American Conference championship game on Saturday at Ford Field.
Akron could only muster 98 yards of offense in the opening 30 minutes, splitting time between quarterbacks Kato Nelson and Tommy Woodson. We might not receive clarity on this situation until Saturday.
Akron dropped to 1-1 in MAC Championship Game appearances (2005, 2017), while the Rockets improved to 3-3 in their six trips.
Nelson has started the last three games for Akron.
The Zips (7-6) entered the game on a two-game winning streak that locked down the MAC East Division Championship.
Toledo's MAC Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Logan Woodside (23-of-36, 307 yards 4 TD 2 INT), had three TD passes covering 27, 5, and 27 yards, and 229 yards in the air overall at halftime.
The Zips would be forced to try a 42-yard field goal, but it was blocked by Toledo and recovered and returned to Akron's 34 by UT's Josh Teachey. He finished it off with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jon'Vae Johnson with eight seconds remaining and sent Toledo into the break with a commanding 28-0 lead.
Despite those gaudy numbers, the offense was balanced.
The Rockets, the MAC West champions, are averaging 38.7 points per game this season, which means Akron has to tighten up its defense to win this game. Toledo churned out 254 yards on the ground, led by Terry Swanson's 180 yards and two touchdowns.
Akron scored again late when Robbie Kelley found Kobie Booker on a 5-yard TD pass to make it 45-28.
The Zips leading rusher is Manny Morgan with 88 carries for 342 yards and three touchdowns, followed by Van Edwards with 84 carries for 297 yards and two TDs. Nelson is filling in for Thomas Woodson, who in nine games played this season is 154-of-264 for 1,742 yards and 14 touchdowns.
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On the next play they went back to the same motion but looked to pass and found an easy 22-yard touchdown from John Franklin III. North Texas quarterback Mason Fine completed 28 of 44 passes for 356 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the loss.