Kent State loses 14-10 to Ohio in close affair

Henry Palattella

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Kent State junior quarterback Nick Holley has been an integral part of the Flashes offense since he made the switch over to quarterback four games ago. Little was it known, though, that on Saturday, Holley would be the whole offense.

Holley complied 159 yards on the ground on an astonishing 41 carries in the Flashes (2-6, 1-3 Mid-American Conference) 14-10 loss to first-place Ohio University (5-3, 3-1 MAC).

“(It was a) disappointing loss. I thought our guys played hard though … for how beat up we are,” head coach Paul Haynes said after the game. “Guys fought like crazy; We didn’t have anyone come out of the game. Second week in a row where we just need a couple more plays. We just didn’t get it.”

The Flashes had to play from behind for most of the contest, as Ohio drew first blood when junior running back Dorian Brown took a handoff 49 yards into the end zone to give the Bobcats a 7-0 lead.

Ohio struck again midway through the second quarter when sophomore running back Maleek Irons finished off a 12-play 81 yard drive with a four yard touchdown run. Brown led the Bobcats on the ground with 110 yards, while Irons totaled 83 yards.

The Bobcats’ next best scoring chance came late in the second quarter, when Irons took a handoff 60 yards down to the Kent six-yard line, and he fumbled two plays later — a fumble that was recovered the Flashes.

Long scoring drives were the name of the game for the Flashes, as both Kent scores came as the result of 17-play drives. The Flashes first scored on their last drive of the first half when Shane Hynes knocked in a 22-yard field goal to make it 14-3 at the intermission.

The Flashes then got the ball at the start of the second half and went on another 17-play drive, which ended when Holley rushed it in from three yards out, which was the last score of the game for either side.

Though the Flashes had more scoring opportunities, the players just weren’t able to capitalize on them. The first occurred in the middle of the first quarter, when Holley executed a beautiful fake pitch that left freshman wide receiver Kavious Price wide open down the right sideline, but Holley overthrew him by ten yards.

Kent’s next best scoring opportunity occurred midway through the third quarter when the Flashes drove the ball all the way to the Ohio 32-yard line, but elected to go with a Nick Holley “pooch punt” on 4th and 17 instead of trying for the 50 yard field-goal.

“We were into the wind. before the game we do a very good job of figuring out where (Hynes) mark is going into the game,” Haynes said. “I don’t think he could have kicked a 50-yard field goal from that length.”

The Flashes best to score came late in the fourth quarter when Ohio’s Mike Papi muffed a punt deep in his own territory that senior wide receiver Ernest Calhoun recovered at the Ohio 11-yard line.

Kent State was only able to gain four yards on the first three downs, and elected to go for the touchdown on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal that would have made it a one-point game. Holley overthrew senior tight end Brice Fackler on the play, and Ohio ran the clock out to seal the victory.

“(We were)Just trying to get a touchdown (on that play), Haynes said. “We released everybody. They covered (our first read) and we just tried to make something happen. I don’t think three points helped us at that time, with just two timeouts. We weren’t doing a very good job of stopping the run and those three points would have helped us. We didn’t come here to lose by one.”

Holley finished 12-of-29 for 101 yards on the day through the air.

Ohio coach Frank Solich was mum on who the Bobcats starting quarterback would be this week, as he was deciding between senior Greg Windham, and freshman Quinton Maxwell.

Solich elected to go with Maxwell, and while his play didn’t win the game for the Bobcats, it didn’t really lose the game for them either, as he went 11-19 with 127 yards and one interception.

Ohio is now tied for the MAC East lead with The University of Akron, while Kent State drops to fourth.

Contact Henry Palattella at [email protected].