AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Cam Wiley had a 1-yard touchdown run in overtime and Akron held off FCS-member St. Francis (Pa.) 30-23 on Thursday night in the debut of head coach Joe Moorhead.
Wiley scored on the first possession of overtime in the season opener for both teams. Justin Sliwoski then drove the Red Flash to the Akron 6, including a 16-yard pass to Dawson Snyder on fourth-and-10. But Tyson Durant picked off a Sliwoski pass to end it.
It was Akron’s first season-opening win since 2018 against Morgan State. Moorhead spent the last two seasons as offensive coordinator at Oregon and was an assistant at Akron from 2004-08.
DJ Irons threw two touchdown passes and was 23 of 38 for 270 yards passing for the Zips. Irons lofted a 41-yard pass to Shocky Jacques-Louis, who beat two defenders and made a two-handed, over-the-shoulder catch, that gave the Zips a 17-16 lead late in the third quarter. Irons connected with nine receivers that included six completions of 15 yards or more.
The Zips stretched their lead to 23-16 with 5:42 left on Wiley's 7-yard touchdown run, but St. Francis blocked the PAT attempt. Sliwoski then tossed a 55-yard pass to Dawson Snyder that sparked a five-play, 81-yard drive, capped by Deondre Scott's 7-yard touchdown run, to tie it 23-23 with 3:30 remaining.
Sliwoski was 11-of-17 passing for 162 yards. Damon Horton also had a touchdown run for St. Francis.
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