Bollas, Crum will both play against Northern Illinois

Brandon Kagan

The Kent State football team started conference play with a 27-13 loss at Buffalo Saturday.

Despite the loss, the Flashes played very well offensively, as quarterback George Bollas threw for a career-high 242 yards. Bollas, a junior from Aurora, Ohio, came in in relief after freshman Dustin Crum started the game, going 2-4 passing for 78 yards. 75 of those yards came on a touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Kavious Price in the second quarter.

Before the matchup Saturday, Kent State head coach Paul Haynes said that the Flashes would be going with a designed two-quarterback system against the Bulls.

That won’t change this Saturday.

“I think both (Crum and Bollas) deserve to play at this time and I think with their work ethic, both of them deserve to sit there and get some time and see who can get the bull by the horn,” Haynes said.

Bollas finished 17-26 on the day with 242 passing yards.

“Coach mentioned that we struggled a little bit with our passing game and our protection so this week we came out and showed that we can do that, and executed a lot with our pass blocking,” sophomore running back Will Matthews said. “Our receivers got open and the quarterbacks got the ball to them.”

Despite a strong offensive performance, the Flashes had a difficult time finishing drives, as they got the ball down to Buffalo’s one yard line at the start of the third quarter, but couldn’t get a score.

“There’s a lot of things that were open that we just didn’t see,” Matthews said. “We have to execute, we have to know certain looks before we get into them.”

The Flashes finished with 444 yards of total offense, but defensively allowed Buffalo to rush for 235 yards, 144 of which came from sophomore running back Emmanuel Reed. Reed ran for three touchdowns, and also broke off a 55-yard run. Quarterback Drew Anderson also had a 64 yard run.

“It’s self-inflicted, that’s the hard part. We’re self-inflicting some things that shouldn’t happen if we just do our jobs.” Haynes said of the big plays. “There’s nothing magical about the plays that (Buffalo) ran. It’s just one guy out of a gap, and you’re giving up a big play. That’s what happened to us.”

The Golden Flashes will go on the road Saturday to face Northern Illinois at 3:30 p.m., who is coming off a 34-28 loss at San Diego State.

NIU quarterback Daniel Santacaterina has thrown for 642 yards and six touchdowns so far this year, while running back Jordan Huff has rushed for 350 yards.

The two teams met last year in the final game of the season, a game that NIU won 31-21. Santacaterina threw for 258 yards and rushed for a touchdown, while George Bollas threw for 203 yards and two scores while also rushing for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Brandon Kagan is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]