Flashes preparing for pivotal Wagon Wheel installment

Illinois+linebacker+Jake+Hansen+tackles+Kent+State+running+back+Will+Mathews+during+the+first+half+of+the+Flashes+matchup+against+the+Fighting+Illini+at+Memorial+Stadium+in+Champaign%2C+Illinois+on+Sept.+1%2C+2018.+The+Flashes+lost+31-24.

Illinois linebacker Jake Hansen tackles Kent State running back Will Mathews during the first half of the Flashes matchup against the Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois on Sept. 1, 2018. The Flashes lost 31-24.

Ian Kreider

This season so far for the Kent State football team (1-6, 0-3 Mid-American Conference) can be summed up in two words: consistently inconsistent.

“Guys reverted back to mistakes we were making early on,” coach Sean Lewis said after last week’s performance against Miami (OH), a 31-6 thrashing at the hands of the RedHawks. “I need to make sure that each week in and of itself is its own entity and that we approach each week that way so we have the discipline and the nature of play we are looking for week in and week out.”

The Flashes are currently on a five-game losing streak, one that has seen them lose by an average of 27.6 points per game. However, that doesn’t matter heading forward, Lewis said.

“When it comes to a rivalry game you need to throw the records out,” Lewis said.

The Flashes were unable to respond after 21 unanswered second-quarter points by Miami (OH). Lewis questioned his players’ commitment postgame and elaborated on his comments Monday.

“The players know and understand when we say things, we mean what we say, and we say what we mean,” Lewis said. “The standards aren’t going to change, and if someone is just comfortable with being OK then they’re not going to be comfortable in our family, and ultimately they’ll seek comfort somewhere else. With that being said, we have guys who are all in, and we are going to continue moving forward with the guys who are all in.”

Akron (2-3, 0-2 MAC) has had a season eerily similar to the Flashes. After its season-opening matchup against Nebraska was canceled, it knocked off Big 10 foe Northwestern, 39-34. The Zips have struggled recently, suffering losses to Iowa State, Miami (OH) and Buffalo by an average of 18.3 points per game.

The quest for a Wagon Wheel victory is something close to Lewis’ heart.

“Ever since we got on the field from spring ball, all the way through training camp, we have a period called “Wagon Wheel period” where we spend a specific amount of time, and we put a certain emphasis on this game,” Lewis said.

Kickoff between Kent State and Akron is set for Saturday at 3:30 p.m. inside Dix Stadium.

Lewis had a definitive message

heading into the game.

“We’re going to win our rivalry games, and our Wagon Wheel is going to be in our locker room at the end of this day,” Lewis said.

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