Flashes return home, fall to Toledo


The University of Toledo runs a play against the Kent State during the game Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. The Flashes lost 20-30.

Taylor Rosen

In what was a rainy and windy night at Dix Stadium, the Kent State football team fell behind early on in the game, and never made a game of it as the Flashes lost their second consecutive game to Toledo, 30-20.

“Another disappointing loss but I told these guys in the locker room I love their work ethic, it’s a testament to guys like Casey (Pierce) and these seniors that are setting the standard and how they prepare and continue to fight,” Kent State coach Paul Haynes said.

Toledo (6-3 5-0 MAC) gashed the Flashes on the ground for 221 yards Tuesday night as Toledo sophomore running back Kareem Hunt had a huge game for the Rockets, rushing for 141 yards on 18 attempts.

Hunt set the tone for the Rockets as they took 9-0 lead with 11 minutes to play in the second quarter. Toledo then extended its lead to 16-0 just before halftime.

“Toledo is a very good football team, they have very talented guys, but we are right there,” Haynes said. “It’s just a play here and a play there. It’s not lack of effort or lack of preparation. The disappointing thing for me was the penalties that cost us, and it put us in a bad position.”

Tuesday’s game notes

  • According to the athletic department, Redshirt freshman Nathan Strock’s 6-yard run in the third quarter was Kent State’s longest play from scrimmage this season. Strock then threw his first and second career touchdown passes.
  • Sophomore Nick Holley’s career-long, 50-yard touchdown, was Kent State’s longest run of the season prior to Strock’s run.  It was Holley’s second TD of the season and first rushing touchdown. His 95 rushing yards were also a career-high and the most by a Kent State player this season.
  • Sophomore defensive end Terence Waugh, redshirt freshman linebacker Dustyn Moore and sophomore tight end Brice Fackler became the 18th, 19th and 20th different Kent State players (10 offense, 10 defense) to get their first career starts this season.
  • Senior tight end Casey Pierce made his team-leading fourth touchdown catch of the season and third in his last three games.  His eight catches were a career-high.  Pierce has made three or more catches in 10 straight games and has made two or more catches in 16 straight games. In his last four games, Pierce has made 25 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Sophomore Ernest Calhoun scored his first career touchdown on a pass from Nathan Strock.
  • Sophomore Quarterback Colin Reardon moved into sixth place in career passing yards at Kent State now with 3,841 yards.
  • Kent State’s offense improved to 8 of 12 on fourth-down attempts this season.
  • The Flashes’ 171 yards on the ground were a season high.
  • Junior linebacker Matt Delinger had a career-high 13 tackles.
  • Sophomore Tad France made his first career appearance at left guard.
  • Junior kicker Anthony Melchiori placed four of his six punts inside the 20-yard line.

The Flashes (1-8, 0-5 MAC) had two starting offensive linemen suffer injuries in the first half. Sophomore left guard Wayne Scott and senior right guard Terrell Johnson both were unable to finish the game.

Offensive struggles persisted for the Flashes in the first half, but a 50-yard rushing touchdown from sophomore running back Nick Holley and a 65-yard burst from redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Strock were two bright spots in the game for the Flashes. Holley rushed for 95 yards on 12 carries and Casey Pierce led the team in receiving with eight catches for 57 yards.

“We hate losing more than we like winning, and it’s tough,” Pierce said. “It’s been a tough season. We’re in every single game against the best teams in the MAC. Just a turnover here, a mistake there, a couple plays holding us back.  We can be a great offense, and that’s what we’re going to do coming forward.”

Kent State sophomore quarterback Colin Reardon never found a rhythm in the rain and was pulled from the game by Haynes. Reardon was 10 of 23 for 96 yards and an interception.

“We’ll see how the week goes, those guys have been in competition,” Haynes said. “Colin is still a good quarterback. Hegot rattled a bit. We’ll go through the week and see who practices better and we’ll see.

“I have the upmost confidence in Colin.”

Strock came in and provided a spark for the offense. His 65 yard-dash was the longest play of the season for the Flashes, and he finished the game 9 of 18 for 67 yards passing, 71 yards rushing, two touchdowns and an interception.

“I think a change of pace — we felt that Colin was struggling just a little bit, just to give us a fresh guy with fresh legs and mind did some good things for us,” Haynes said.

Kent State committed seven penalties in the game, costing them 74 yards, and Toledo dominated Flashes in time of possession. The Flashes also failed to move the chains on third down and converted just three of their 12 attempts.

“I don’t discredit any quarterback, but we’re just out there trying real hard,” Pierce said. “I just told them the next three games we’re going to try to upset some people, we’re going to have offensive explosive plays, and go after people. That’s our mentality, and we’re going to go out with a bang.”

The Flashes will take a day off and then get back to work as they prepare to hit the road for next Wednesday’s contest against Bowling Green. The game will start at 8:00 p.m.

Contact Taylor Rosen at [email protected].