AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Kato Nelson was 22-of-38 passing for 322 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions and added 45 yards rushing to help Akron beat Ohio 37-34 on Tuesday night.
Kwad Smith had touchdown catches of 71 and 54 yards and Manny Morgan had 55 yards rushing with one score for Akron (6-5, 5-2 Mid-American Conference). The Zips are bowl eligible for the second time in three years.
Brendan Cope hit Nathan Rourke on a trick play for a 3-yard touchdown with 1:32 left in the first quarter and, after Akron went three-and-out on its ensuing drive, Dylan Wears blocked, and then recovered, a punt. On Ohio’s next play from scrimmage, Dorian Brown scored on a 5-yard run to give the Bobcats a 21-10 lead with 14:54 remaining in the first half. Smith’s 71-yard touchdown trimmed Akron’s deficit to 21-17 about three minutes later and was the first of three touchdowns in five offensive plays for the Zips.
Nelson hit Austin Wolf for a 23-yard touchdown with 10:56 left in the second quarter and, after Ohio’s Louie Zervos made a 19-yard field goal, Smith scored on a 54-yard catch-and-run to make it 30-24 at halftime.
Ohio (8-3, 5-2) failed to convert a fourth-and-4 from midfield and Akron bled the final two minutes, 41 seconds to seal it.