Lewis optimistic headed into conference play

Kent+State+sophomore+safety+Elvis+Hines+exchanges+words+with+Howard%E2%80%99s+Mason+Jordan+after+a+tackle+during+the+first+quarter+of+their+matchup+Friday%2C+Sept.+8%2C+2018.+Kent+State+won%2C+54-14.

Kent State sophomore safety Elvis Hines exchanges words with Howard’s Mason Jordan after a tackle during the first quarter of their matchup Friday, Sept. 8, 2018. Kent State won, 54-14.

Ian Kreider

Resiliency is a word that had been brought up by Kent State football coach Sean Lewis after every Kent State loss this season. 

He believes his team has shown it in every game thus far.

“We continued to fight, were resilient,” Lewis said. “I was really pleased with the defensive effort, especially with the weapons Ole Miss has.”

The Flashes defense limited a high-powered Rebels’ offense to just seven points in the first half. 

The Flashes (1-3) have struggled on special teams at times throughout the season. Saturday, however, was different.

“I was really pleased with our special teams,” Lewis said. “It was an area of weakness the last few weeks.”

The major weakness is that junior punter Derek Adams has been sidelined all season with a hip injury, leaving punting duties to freshman Matthew Trickett, who is also the team’s place kicker. Lewis said Adams is day-to-day. In his absence, the team has averaged 35.88 yards per punt as opposed to last season when Adams averaged 42.51 yards per punt.

Against Penn State, the team allowed the Nittany Lions to rack up over 150 return yards, with Trickett providing two touchdown-saving tackles.

Kent State’s coverage was better this week, allowing only 46 return yards. 

The Flashes also blocked a field goal late in the first half that kept the game knotted, 7-7.

In all three losses this season, the Flashes kept the game within two scores heading into halftime. The Flashes had a 17-3 halftime lead against Illinois and were tied at 7 against Ole Miss The second half, however, has been a different story.

Kent State has been outscored by 77 points in the second half in its losses this season. 

It opens conference play against Ball State (1-3), who has had a similar start to its season. The team has played two “Power Five” teams, losing both. Its game against No. 8 Notre Dame ended, 24-16, after a 10-point fourth quarter, with the Cardinals unable to finish what would have been the largest upset in school history. 

The Cardinals’ lone win came against FCS opponent Central Connecticut State (2-2) in a dominating 42-6 fashion. 

The game kicks off on Saturday at 3 p.m. inside Scheumann Stadium.

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