Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL FOOTBALL ; Akron's Skill Players Pose Threat to Herd

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

MARSHALL FOOTBALL ; Akron's Skill Players Pose Threat to Herd

Article excerpt

HUNTINGTON - Marshall players and coaches have developed a solid respect for Akron's skill players, with one standing out - the man who scored the Zips' only touchdown last week at Wisconsin. That's JoJo Natson, the 5-foot-8, 151-pound transfer from Utah State.

If you're that small, you'd better have speed, and Natson surely fills that bill. He showed as much against the Badgers on his 55- yard runback, which earned him special teams player of the week honors in the Mid-American Conference.

Receiving-wise, Natson had seven catches for 134 yards and three touchdowns, half of the six scored in a 47-24 win over Virginia Military Institute on Sept. 3. His long gain is 46 yards.

"That slot receiver, he was one of the best players for Utah State, said MU coach Doc Holliday. "He's a dangerous guy that you'd better know where he is.

When Natson left Utah State, he had four career TDs on punt returns, tied for the school and Mountain West Conference record. He also had 127 career receptions for 1,031 yards and five touchdowns, and even rushed for six TDs, giving him 15 total.

Natson and the Zips come to Joan C. Edwards Stadium for a noon game Saturday, airing on CBS Sports Network.

He complements two tall receivers on the outside, 6-3 Jerome Lane and 6-3 Austin Wolf. Lane caught 10 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns against VMI and Wolf scored a much-needed TD early in the fourth quarter, when the Zips finally pulled away.

Natson is extremely popular with teammates, having been named one of three seniors elected captains for the season.

"That's the first time I've had a one-year guy who sat out a year and was voted as a team captain, said Akron coach Terry Bowden. "Says a lot about him and the fact he worked so hard in the offseason, and made that kind of impression on our team.

Junior Thomas Woodson runs the Zips' spread attack. Listed at 6- 1, 233 pounds, he is dangerous by air or by ground - in 2015, he passed for 2,202 yards and 16 touchdowns, rushed for 600 yards and three TDs and even caught a 14-yard TD pass. As a sophomore, he played the fourth quarter against Marshall, passing for 100 yards and a TD in the Herd's otherwise dominating win. …

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