RedHawks second quarter push, clock management sideline Flashes’ offense

Kent+State+coach+Sean+Lewis+looks+toward+the+scoreboard+during+Kent+States+game+against+Illinois+at+Memorial+Stadium+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+1%2C+2018.+The+Flashes+lost+31-24.

Kent State coach Sean Lewis looks toward the scoreboard during Kent State’s game against Illinois at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. The Flashes lost 31-24.

Ian Kreider

The Kent State football team (1-6, 0-3 Mid-American Conference) has used one word to rebrand itself: FlashFast.

The Flashes’ fast-paced offense that has been a staple all season was halted to a standstill by Miami (OH)’s (3-4, 3-1 MAC) efficient offense led by senior quarterback Gus Ragland in a 31-6 Miami (OH) win.

The RedHawks had the ball for the majority of the game, winning the time-of-possession battle by a ratio of 39:06 to 20:54.

Ragland had a variety of weapons including running backs Kenny Young and Alonzo Smith, along with wide receiver Jaylon Bester. The trio combined for two touchdowns and 258 of the RedHawks’ 506 total yards.

The Flashes ran a season-low 60 plays. They also finished with 10 penalties for 70 yards. This is the fifth time the team has finished a game with at least 10 penalties this season. 

The Flashes’ offense sputtered as they were only able to muster 274 yards, their second-lowest mark of the season.

That had a lot to do with the fact that sophomore quarterback Woody Barrett had little time to throw all afternoon. Barrett was sacked five times, finishing 15-for-29 for 149 yards and an interception.

“It is a matter of focus and putting our kids in the best possible position to succeed,” Kent State coach Sean Lewis said of the team’s effort.

The Flashes appeared flat on both sides of the ball from kickoff. They gave up 28 unanswered points in the second quarter, which ultimately proved to be the deciding factor.

“Obviously, disappointed with the effort,” Lewis said. “It starts with me. I failed the kids somewhere along the week. I have to go back and reassess how we approached last week. To have that effort is disappointing because I know we’re better than that.”

Kent State had two major opportunities to get itself back in the game in the first half. Barrett took off for an improvised 45-yard run with a later muffed punt that had them taking over near midfield.

Both opportunities resulted in no points.

Lewis was clearly frustrated post-game with the team’s inability to capitalize.

“We need to develop an instinct for those moments,” Lewis said, his voice rising. “We need to know that there is a chance to really impact the game and jump on those opportunities as opposed to thinking that they are going to be given to us. We have to go earn them. We have to go earn every single yard and fight for every single yard. At times, we don’t fight hard enough.”

Two of the Flashes’ last three games have been decided by 25 or more points. 

“We’re going to see who’s all the way in this upcoming week and the rest of the season,” Lewis said. “Are they going to pull together or are they going to pull apart?”

Kent State will take on rival Akron (2-3, 0-2 MAC) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. inside Dix Stadium. The Zips lead the all-time series, 34-24-2.

Ian Kreider is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]