Flashes fall to Minnesota

Stephen Means

Following a dominating performance last week, Kent State (1-2) fell to Big Ten foe Minnesota (2-1) 10-7.

“(The lost was) disappointing just because we’re so close,” head coach Paul Haynes said. “But super proud of this team in all phases. This is a tough place to come and play, a tough opponent and a very well coach football team.”

The Flashes put forth a great defensive performance led by sophomore corner back Demetrius Monday. Monday tallied two interceptions and a forced fumble in which he returned for an 80-yard touchdown.

“We just brought what we practiced to the game,” Monday said. “I just saw (the ball) and I just thought I have to score. I had to do something with it. I couldn’t look at it and just fall.”

The touchdown ended the Kent State’s six game touchdown drought against Big Ten opponents.

“The great thing about it is that you look at it from week one to week three is that he was challenged in week one and gave up a couple,” Haynes said of Monday. “It’s good to see him bounce back. Those are things him and coach (Hank) Poteat work on in practice.”

 The defensive side of the ball as a whole played an impressive game. Kent State recorded nine tackles for loss and held the Gophers to 105 rushing yards on 44 carries (2.4 yards per rush), including only 43 yards in the second half.

“Our defense did well against a quality offense,” Haynes said.

The Flashes also held Minnesota to only 13 first downs.

Senior linebacker Matt Dellinger led both teams in tackles with 13 and was one of four Flashes with double-digit tackles. Junior safety Nate Holley with 12 and junior safeties Nick Cuthbert and Elcee Refuge with 10 each were the other three. 

Cuthbert and Holley also recorded sacks on redshirt junior quarterback Mitch Leidner along with redshirt senior Nate Terhune and junior defensive end Terrence Waugh.

Offensively, the Flashes were never quite able to get momentum in the game. Kent State had a total of 210 yards and converted only 3-of-17 third down attempt.

“We just have to continue to clean up the penalties,” Haynes said. “Penalties are killing us right now. We have a couple drives that are going on and we get a couple penalties and they stall.”

 Junior quarterback Colin Reardon struggled mightily, completing just 10-of-28 passes for 63 yards. Junior running back Nick Holley total 58 yards on 17 carries.

Leidner led the Gophers on 17-of-27 passing and 184 yards. Sophomore running back Rodney Smith ran for 73 yards on 30 carries.

The Flashes return home next Saturday to take on Marshall University (2-1). Kick off is at 3:30 p.m. at Dix Stadium.

Stephen Means is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].