Kent State falls to No. 1 Alabama 48-0


Kent State Vs Alabama

Henry Palattella

Redshirt freshman quarterback Mylik Mitchell is the latest Flash to fall victim to non-conference play, as he sustained a significant hand injury during Kent State’s (1-3) 48-0 loss to No. 1 University of Alabama (4-0).

Mitchell – who took over the starting job after freshman Justin Agner suffered an injury against Penn State – went down hard after being sacked late in the second quarter. He limped off the field holding his right hand. He was seen sporting a soft cast on his right hand after the game.

Kent State head coach Paul Haynes described his condition as “not good” after the game. Mitchell has thrown for 363 yards and five touchdowns this year.

“We’ve lost two quarterbacks (this year),” Haynes said. “You hope (playing against teams like Penn State and Alabama) helps you. Unfortunately, you take a risk of getting guys hurt, and we’ve got a lot of guys hurt in those two games.”

Senior George Bollas, who threw for 71 yards and missed a rushing touchdown by mere inches when his knee hit the ground before he got to the pylon, replaced Mitchell.

“George played a lot of football for us last year,” Haynes said. “So it’s good that he came in and did some things. We’ll see how long he goes this week (as the starter), but you got to get ready and start next week.”

Bollas will most likely be backed up by fifth-year senior Colin Reardon. Reardon spent the past three seasons as the Flashes’ starting quarterback, but spent this past offseason transitioning to wide receiver. Reardon ranks fourth all time in Kent’ State’s history with 33 touchdown passes.

Alabama did not walk away from the win unscathed; they lost sophomore running back Damien Harris to an ankle sprain in the first quarter. Harris came into Saturday’s game as the Crimson Tide’s leading rusher.

“He’s day-to-day,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said after the game. “I don’t know what his status will be.”

Freshman running back Joshua Jacobs stepped up in Harris’ absence. He rushed for 97 yards and added two touchdowns on the ground.

Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts was an offensive catalyst for the Crimson Tide in the first half throwing for 164 yards and a touchdown, while adding 54 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Hurts touchdown pass went to senior tight end O.J. Howard. Howard — the offensive MVP of last year’s national championship game —led Alabama with 60 yards receiving.

“I think (Hurts) is electric,” Haynes said after the game. “I think he does a really good job. They have dynamic wideouts, so I think it makes it easier for him a little bit. He can just throw it up to those guys and (they) make plays. But then again what do you do (when you) sit there and try to double those guys, and then they’re pulling it (with Hurts) and running the football.”

Fellow freshman quarterback Blake Barnett also saw time behind center for the Crimson Tide, throwing for 55 yards and a touchdown.

“It was the plan to play Blake some in the second quarter, regardless of how it was going in the game,” Saban said. “(He’s) a quarterback that may to play at some point or time down the road. He did some good things while he was in there.”

Kent State’s best first half scoring opportunity came on their first possession of the game. True freshman running back, Justin Rankin, uncorked a 47-yard rush on the Flashes’ first offensive play, which set them up deep in Alabama territory. It proved to be for naught, as Shane Hynes missed the 37-yard field goal. Kent State’s next scoring opportunity came late in the game, when Bollas led the team on an 11-play, 73-yard drive that ended when Bollas fourth down goal line run came up just short of the pylon.

Kent State will start MAC play when they take on The University of Akron(2-2) next Saturday for Homecoming. It will be the 56th installment of the “Wagon Wheel” game. Akron leads the all-time series 31-24-2. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

Henry Palattella is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected]