Michigan Narrowly Survives Akron Upset with Last-Minute Goal Line Stand
The Michigan Wolverines avoided the upset of the century by holding off the Akron Zips 28-24 at Michigan Stadium. Brady Hoke kept his unbeaten streak at home alive and Michigan kept their season alive with a goal-line stand in the closing seconds against the Terry Bowden-led Zips.
To put the potential upset in perspective: Before their near-upset of the Wolverines, Akron was just 3-33 overall since 2010. With the loss, Akron has now dropped 28 straight road contests.
Things got off to a good start for the Wolverines coming off of an emotional home win against Notre Dame just one week ago.
Devin Gardner easily marched the team down the field on a six-play, 75-yard drive to get the Wolverines into the end zone just three minutes into the action.
That’s the kind of start you expect from a top-ranked team against a Middle-American Conference team that was blown out by Central Florida in their opener and narrowly escaped a home defeat by James Madison in Week 2.
But things got a little tricky for Brady Hoke’s team after that opening drive. Gardner threw two interceptions and the team held onto a narrow 7-3 advantage heading into the half.
In the third quarter, the Zips proved they might be a real threat to upset the Wolverines. After a three-and-out by Michigan, quarterback Kyle Pohl led Akron down the field on its first drive of the second half. The Zips took the lead after an eight-play, 75-yard drive was capped off by Pohl’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Zach D’Orazio.
Michigan responded immediately. After the Zips went ahead 10-7, Gardner broke off a 36-yard touchdown run to put the Wolverines back on top, 14-10.
The Wolverines stifled the Zips on their next possession and rode Gardner’s rushing and the play-action pass game to move the football down the field and take a commanding 21-10 lead.
But that lead wouldn’t stand. Gardner was intercepted on the Wolverines’ next possession and it was returned for a 27-yard touchdown by Akron defensive back Justin March with 14:46 to play.
After a Michigan punt, the Zips got the ball down to the Michigan 2-yard line. The Wolverines would get a stand, though. Pohl was intercepted by Justin Wilson on a play-action pass that he should have never thrown.
Michigan’s next drive ended in just four plays and the Zips took over with 8:56 to play. Pohl hit receiver L.T. Smith on a 40-yard pass to put Akron in position to take the lead at the Wolverines’ 1-yard line. After two failed attempts to rush it in, Pohl found receiver Tyrell Goodman open in the end zone to give the Zips a late 24-21 lead.
The Wolverines answered quickly. A 35-yard scramble by Gardner and a pass interference call in the end zone set up a short-yardage touchdown by Fitzgerald Toussaint to put his team back on top, 28-24, with just under three minutes left to play.
Akron had their shot in the closing seconds. On fourth down from the Wolverines’ 2-yard line, Pohl felt the pressure a Michigan blitz and overthrew his intended target as time expired on their upset bid.
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