The Akron Zips quite literally fumbled away a golden opportunity on Tuesday night.
Late the fourth quarter against Ball State in a Mid-American Conference game, Akron was in the red zone and on the verge of scoring a go-ahead touchdown. On a third-and-7 play, quarterback Zach Gibson dropped back and scrambled. As he darted towards the goal line, he put his shoulder down and fumbled away a potential go-ahead score pending the extra point when he was hit by two defenders. Ball State recovered the ball in the end zone and took over possession. From there, they simply ran out the clock and got the win.
OH. MY. GOODNESS.
Zach Gibson nearly scored the game-tying touchdown before he FUMBLED IT. Ball State has possession. pic.twitter.com/6b6T64Mmjo
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) November 3, 2021
Gibson made a nice read here too — he saw space, took off and easily had a first down if he had slid to avoid contact or was more careful protecting the ball. There was 1:37 left on the clock when Gibson fumbled and the Zips had all three timeouts to work with still. There was more than enough time to score from inside the five yard line. But of course, no football player is going to see the end zone right in front of them and get conservative.
Aside from the heartbreak for Akron — who could have picked up their third win of the year had they scored — Gibson’s fumble also had gambling implications. The over/under for total points in this game was set at 57.5. Had he scored and the the extra point been made, Akron and Ball State would have cleared the over. Instead, no one except Ball State and under bettors left happy.