The echoes of Saturday’s 28-24 loss against Michigan can still be heard several days later.
But the University of Akron football team had plenty to listen to leading up to the game. Coach Terry Bowden said in his Tuesday news conference that he used quotes from several Wolverines beat writers to show his team how they were viewed, with at least one quote even reading that they wouldn’t last to halftime.
The disbelief after the game was even more pronounced as a mention after the game referred to them as “lowly Akron.” Bowden showed remarkable honesty when asked about it.
“If I had no affiliation with Akron, I probably would have said the same thing,” he said.
Nor do the references hold any particular meaning for him.
“No, it doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I’ve been on the other side of the fence. There are coaches on both sides of the ball who have respect for one another. The coaches in the business [know what happened].”
And the reality is that the Zips played a good ballgame in the context of the situation, meaning that the Wolverines were up the prior week for Notre Dame, a heated rival with the animosity ramped up more this year because the Irish had decided to end the annual meeting.
“It wasn’t like they fumbled three times in their own territory and Akron got lucky and scored three 10-yard touchdowns,” he said. “No, we drove for 418 yards. We missed a touchdown. [We had] an interception in the end zone. We got stopped on the one. We created turnovers. We had tackles for loss, so in a sense they were not as emotionally high for that game as they were for Notre Dame.”
After further review
Booth reviews did the Zips in all afternoon Saturday in the loss to the Wolverines, but none was as important as what came at the end of the game.
With second-and-15 at the Michigan 16, quarterback Kyle Pohl completed what those on the UA side thought was a first-down pass to wide receiver L.T. Smith. Officials marked the ball at the 2-yard line, however, and a review of the play confirmed it. The Zips lost nine seconds off the clock and more.
“What we really lost was a chance to run one more play,” Bowden said. “We probably would have run once and passed twice, but with them marking it third down, we only had two shots anyway.”
Bowden said that an official’s explanation forwarded to him was adequate.
When the Zips play Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday, Bowden will be meeting his predecessor at North Alabama, coach Mark Hudspeth.
In three years at North Alabama, Bowden went 29-9 and gave Hudspeth some credit for it.
“When you follow someone at a school and you see what they left behind, you can tell what kind of coach they are. He was a hard-working, son-of-a-gun,” Bowden said.
Honoring the past
The UA athletic department announced that it will honor former coach Jim Dennison at the Nov. 2 game against rival Kent State.
Dennison led the Zips to the final of the Division II playoffs in 1976 and amassed an 80-62-2 record in his 13-year tenure at UA (1973-1985).
The festivities will include on-field recognition and a pregame reception at the FirstMerit Foundation Club Level of the stadium. The cost is $10, includes a buffet lunch and a reserve ticket to the game.
A UA official said that the Zips’ performance at Michigan Stadium had an impact on ticket sales, giving them a significant bump on Monday.
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.