ANN ARBOR — The Michigan football team’s disappointment wasn’t just palpable. In the wake of a 28-24 win against Akron, it might as well have been overwhelming, and two seniors took the heat.
“It’s not fair to the fans,” tackle Taylor Lewan said. “It’s not fair to the people associated with this program. This is the seniors’ fault. We will not come out this way again.”
Michigan safety Thomas Gordon agreed with Lewan’s postgame assessment.
“He’s absolutely right,” the fifth-year said. “It’s leadership.”
Akron entered as a 38-point underdog. Zips coach Terry Bowden has known success in his career, but has known little at Akron, where he is 2-13 in two seasons.
Still, Bowden went 47-17-1 in six seasons at Auburn (from 1993 to 1998) and led the Tigers to an 11-0 record in 1993, and he’s part of a family that’s synonymous with college football success. He’s the son of legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden and the brother of former Tulane and Clemson coach Tommy Bowden.
Where would a win against Michigan stack up?
“I’ve been fortunate to have some big wins in my career, but that would’ve been the biggest,” Bowden after Akron’s 28th consecutive road loss. “I’m sorry for our players. They worked so hard and been through so much, but I told them they had the chance to play the game of a lifetime and they did, and they played the game of a lifetime.”
Now the Wolverines must regroup and prepare to play at Connecticut. The Huskies opened the year with a 33-18 loss to FCS foe Towson.
“I think we’ll learn a lot about our team,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. “I think you always do. We’ll learn a lot as coaches. They’ll learn a lot as players. We’ll go back and correct those things, and we’ll respond to them.”
Lewan was less eloquent about his team’s agenda.
“I’m fired up,” Lewan said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve worked too hard, too hard to have games like this. Way too hard. You all don’t even know. You all just write [stuff] down. We’ll be ready.”
FIRST WIN: Although Michigan won its first meeting against the Zips, it came with a cost. Per the contract between, obtained by the Blade through a Freedom of Information Act request, Akron will receive $900,000.
STREAK’S OVER: UM kicker Brendan Gibbons missed a 45-yard field goal attempt 23 seconds into the second quarter — his only attempt — and ended a stretch in which he made 16 straight field goals. Gibbons’ streak dated to a 44-13 win Oct. 6, 2012 at Purdue.
PLAYING DEFENSIVE: While UM finished with 69 tackles to Akron’s 50, the Zips finished with eight tackles for a loss of 31 yards. Michigan had four tackles for a loss of nine yards.
James Ross III led the Wolverines with 10 tackles (six solo), while Malachi Freeman led the Zips with nine tackles (seven solo). C.J. Mizell recorded the game’s only sack, tagging UM quarterback Devin Gardner for a 10-yard loss.