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Akron nips Ohio, 31-29

The Associated Press

AKRON – Zac Derr kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired and Akron spoiled Ohio coach Brian Knorr’s debut with a 31-29 victory Thursday night.

Friday, August 31, 2001

AKRON – Zac Derr kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired and Akron spoiled Ohio coach Brian Knorr’s debut with a 31-29 victory Thursday night.

The Bobcats (0-1, 0-1 Mid-American Conference) had rallied from a 28-19 deficit to take a 29-28 lead on Kevin Kerr’s 32-yard field goal with 2:45 to play.

The Zips (1-0, 1-0) then went on a 12-play, 55-yard drive, and Derr beat the Bobcats with a last second field goal for the second straight season. His 18-yarder with 24 seconds to play last Sept. 23 gave Akron a 23-20 victory.

Bob Hendry rushed for 103 yards on only eight carries and two touchdowns for Akron, including a 56-yarder that gave the Zips a nine-point lead with 8:18 remaining in the third quarter.

Ohio cut it to 28-26 minutes later when quarterback Dontrell Jackson capped an 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 22-yard TD run. Jackson faked out several tacklers and leaped at over two defenders at the 4-yard line to get into the end zone.

Akron took a 14-13 lead on Hendry’s 1-yard run with 22 seconds to go in the second. The Zips held the lead by scoring twice within 2:28 early in the third and stopping an Ohio two-point conversion.

Brandon Payne scored on a 1-yard run at the 10:46 mark to make it 21-13, but Ray Huston’s 2-yard run 1:36 later pulled the Bobcats within 21-19.

Ohio went for the tie, but Chad Brinker’s run was stuffed just before the goal line. Hendry scored less than a minute later, giving Akron a 28-19 lead.

Akron rushed for 290 yards on 26 attempts, including 115 from Payne on 23 carries.

Ohio ran 60 times for 339 yards. Brinker got 124 yards on 19 attempts.

Kerr also kicked a 51-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Knorr took over for Jim Grobe, who is now the coach at Wake Forest.

Rutgers 31, Buffalo 15

AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) – Dennis Thomas rushed for a career-high 177 yards and scored a touchdown, sparking Rutgers to a 31-15 season-opening victory over Buffalo on Thursday night.

Shawn Seabrooks ran an interception back 73 yards, and L.J. Smith and Aaron Martin caught touchdown passes in Greg Schiano’s head coaching debut for the Scarlet Knights.

Jim Hofher’s first game as Buffalo’s head coach was a frustrating one. The bumbling Bulls don’t look much better than the team that went 2-20 – including last season’s 59-0 loss to Rutgers – since moving up to the Division I-A level in 1999.f