Coach Terry Bowden said a number of factors went into the University of Akron football team missing an opportunity to bring home a win against Troy.

But key among them was the Zips’ inability to stop the Trojans on their game-winning drive.

A UA punt pinned the Trojans at their own 3-yard line with 3:14 left in the game and the Zips (1-3) leading 17-16. Troy only needed 2:08 of that to take the lead and eventually win the game on a 23-yard touchdown pass.

“You have to play a little tighter in those situations and that’s why the guy gets behind you for the touchdown because you’re trying not to get into field goal range, so they can kick the field goal to win the game,” Bowden said in his Tuesday news conference.

He gave Troy credit for making plays.

“They had a fourth-and-5 that they made,” he said. “We had two near sacks. That’s what happened. They just made plays.”

Bowden also pointed to team’s red-zone mistakes, especially two costly ones at the end of the first half. The first, an interception thrown by quarterback Thomas Woodson with about six minutes left in the half with UA at the Troy 19-yard line. The second, a 34-yard field goal attempt missed by kicker Tom O’Leary.

Those mistakes are fair game.

But the Zips’ defense didn’t finish the job on that final drive with the offense having provided momentum.

The UA defense allowed yardage in chunks — five plays of more than 10 yards — on the drive. It’s a game the Zips probably should have won.

“We should have won the Iowa State game,” Bowden said. “I wanted to win both of them. Our kids played hard. We expect to win that game. We went down there expecting to win that game and it played out like we thought it would play out. We just didn’t play as well as we needed to play.”

Looking to the MAC

There is something the Zips can take from the loss. Running back Warren Ball, with 112 yards on 28 carries, enjoyed some success. They were grind-it-out yards, hard-earned and well deserved.

The ability to run the ball helped the Zips to control the ball in the third and fourth quarters and kept them in the game.

“That’s why those red-zone opportunities that we missed on were so detrimental to our success,” Bowden said.

A lot of the success running the ball came courtesy of using a two-tight end formation with Kobie Booker and Newman Williams laying hits on defenders to clear some running room.

“We were trying to find a way to run the football … that ended up being a formation that worked for us,” Bowden said. “It’s also one they probably didn’t work on much, but we were able to hammer and hammer and control that clock and keep our defense off the field.”

Getting in a lesson

Bowden and his staff used the trip to Montgomery, Ala., to help educate his players. They went to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church.

“They were able to tour that church and sit in his desk and his chair and at his pulpit, the actual ones that he used and hear the history,” Bowden said. “Right around the corner was the Civil Rights Memorial, where we all got to go.”

Wide receiver Tra’Von Chapman appreciated the experience.

“It brought out something different,” he said. “After I left the church, there was a different feeling I felt.”

Recovering

Safety Zach Guiser remains in the NCAA concussion protocol, Bowden said.

“He just needs to come along at his own pace,” he said.

Guiser isn’t the only defensive player in the protocol. Defensive linemen Darius Copeland and Deontae Moore suffered concussions in practice last week and did not play against Troy.

George M. Thomas can be reached at gmthomas@thebeaconjournal.com.