Akron wonders what might have been

Updated: September 11, 2003, 11:51 AM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | Special to
On Monday Zips coach Lee Owens discussed the call that might have cost his team an upset over then-No. 17 Wisconsin. Akron rallied from a 31-10 halftime deficit and had a 4th-and-goal at the Badgers' 1-yard line trailing 34-31 midway though the fourth quarter. Owens opted to go for the touchdown but officials ruled Bobby Hendry did not break the plain with his plunge.

"We're all thinking we're in," Owens said. "Everyone had their arms up. I'm out there arguing. Our back falls half in the end zone, but it's hard to see the ball. It's not real clear." Wisconsin took over, and on the next play, Jim Sorgi hit Lee Evans for a 99-yard TD. "We didn't expect to happen what happened," Owens said after the game. "You don't give up 99 yards. It just takes your heart away when that happens."

Unlike most road teams, who bring their league's officials to the game, Akron had to play under Big Ten officiating. "Whenever we've won non-conference games on the road, and we've won a few, we've had MAC officials," Owens said. "I think it evens the playing field a little bit."