Northern Illinois overwhelms turnover-prone Kent State

Scott Lendak

For the Kent State football team, this season has been one to forget. Injuries, coaching changes and new faces have all contributed to the lackluster start. 

Saturday’s game against Northern Illinois was no different.

“We had some opportunities to put some points on the board, and we didn’t do it,” said Kent State coach Paul Haynes. “We have to make sure we get that corrected. We are getting opportunities and just nailing ourselves in the foot.”

The Huskies defeated the Flashes 24-3 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicated.

Kent State tallied 131 total yards compared to Northern Illinois’ 266 total yards. The Flashes completed six passes for 29 yards through the air.

The lack of passing game has been a theme for the Flashes all season. After a strong performance from junior quarterback George Bollas against Buffalo, the Flashes were held in check once again.

Freshman quarterback Dustin Crum led the workload for the Flashes behind center. He rushed for a team-high 77 yards.

“We knew that we’d go back and forth with the quarterbacks,” Haynes said. “Whoever plays best we’ll continue to roll with them, but they both made some mistakes.  Hopefully we can find one that can eventually take the bull by the horns.” 

Northern Illinois quarterback Marcus Childers threw for just 114 yards, but took advantage of the Flashes’ defense with three passing touchdowns. 

The Huskies’ defense forced the Flashes into four turnovers and held them to just two successful third-down conversions.

“We haven’t been a third-quarter team,” Haynes said. “That’s when we are giving up some big plays and getting more penalties. We have to look at it and see what we have to do to be better.”

The game began the way Kent State hoped it would. Due to the rainy, windy weather, the Flashes used their run game to keep the ball out of the Huskies’ hands.

Unfortunately for the Flashes, the game script didn’t help the outcome as they rushed for just 2.3 yards per carry.

“Our number one goal is to not allow one more point than what we score,” Haynes said. “We aren’t happy with the outcome, but you keep looking at the fight of our guys continuing to get turnovers and not giving up big plays. You have to be pleased with that, but our problem has been giving up touchdowns in the red zone, and I don’t think we improved in that area today.”

The Flashes will look to bounce back Saturday when they face off with the Miami RedHawks in Kent State’s homecoming game at Dix Stadium at 3:30 p.m.

Scott Lendak is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].