Back-to-back? Flashes aim for two in a row at Miami


Sophomore running back Nick Holley runs the ball through Army defense during the Homecoming football game at Dix Stadium on October 18, 2014. The Flashes went on to win, 39-17.

Taylor Rosen

How the Flashes prevailed

The Kent State football team is fresh off of its first win of the season in the Homecoming game against Army and will hope to take its second consecutive game of the season this Saturday at Miami.

“It’s a great feeling to come off a win, especially on Homecoming,” Kent State coach Paul Haynes said. “I commend our guys for their effort and preparation. It finally paid off for us, and we did a lot of good things on offense.”

The Flashes (1-6) put together their best performance of the season after pounding Army in the second half last week and pulling away with a convincing 39-17 win. The team must generate a similar performance to leave Oxford with a similar result.

“Every team has an identity, and to be successful you probably have to be 60-40 something,” Haynes said. “For us to be successful we have to sit there and pass the ball to set up the run. I think that’s our identity, and I think that’s who we are.”

Kent State sophomore quarterback Colin Reardon played his best game of the season against Army, throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those touchdown passes were caught by senior tight-end Casey Pierce.

Sophomore wide receiver James Brooks also had a big day on offense, finishing the game with a career-high seven catches and 108 yards.

“I’ve been saying all year that our passing game can be really explosive and great for us,” Pierce said. “Finally everything clicked like I said. We were finding guys in the openings and Colin was making the right checks. He was confident and was telling people what to do and where he wanted them, and he got them the ball. We made things happen and that’s what we expect and that’s what we want to do.”

Last Saturday’s Game Notes

  • Senior tight end Casey Pierce was named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week. Pierce has made 11 catches in the last two games for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
  • For the third straight week the Flashes had a season-high in total offense (467 yards) fueled by their most passing yards (360) since 2009.
  • Kent State’s offensive line has not allowed a sack in its last two games, despite 81 pass attempts.
  • Senior receiver Chris Humphrey moved into eighth place last week in career receptions with 106.
  • Junior Anthony Melchiori ranks 15th in the nation with a 45.0 yard punting average.
  • Senior cornerback Malcolm Pannell has five interceptions in his last 13 games.
  • Sophomore Nick Holley is averaging 65.0 yards of offense since the Flashes’ second game.

The Flashes will have to keep up their spirits and continue to fight off the injury bug this week if they plan on heading back to Kent with their second straight victory.

“I’m very pleased, but we talked about it on Sunday, and success is a lousy teacher,” Haynes said. “We have to make sure we enjoyed it, but we have to move forward if we want the same results. We have to make sure we work a little harder because after the first one, they get a little bit harder. Miami is going to be a tough team because they do a good job of playing hard. They’re in the same boat that we’re in, still searching for wins and identity.”

The Flashes will begin a stretch of five Mid-American Conference games to finish out the regular season, starting with Saturday’s game against Miami. The game can be streamed on ESPN 3 and is set to kick-off at 2:30 p.m.

“You got two teams playing with a lot of confidence,” Haynes said. “They’re sitting there kind of the same as us, with a lot of frustration because you’re a couple of plays away from having a totally different record. I think the record doesn’t show how good both teams are, and it’s going to be a good matchup. It’s going to be a tough, physical, hard football game.”    

Making a name for himself

Just like most other football teams, the Flashes are dealing with an excessive amount of injuries. The team is missing key starters on both sides of the ball, but sometimes when one door closes, another one opens up.

In last Saturday’s win over Army, the Flashes were delighted with the play of walk-on sophomore safety Nick Cuthbert, who was awarded Mid-American Conference East Division Defensive Player of the Week honors Monday for his performance.

“When he first came we were hoping we could use him last year on special teams because he showed it all during camp,” Haynes said. “He just put himself in position defensively back at safety. He’s a smart kid, great student and he’s always in there watching film, and you know hard work pays off.”

Cuthbert made his first career start in the win over Army and he came up huge for the Flashes, racking up 16 total tackles and 12 solo tackles and leading the categories for both teams.

He transferred to Kent State from Georgia Tech last year and was forced to sit out a year of eligibility due to the transfer. He first saw action as a Flash playing on special teams and has progressively wedged his way into the starting lineup.

“I mean it’s been a little bit of a journey after sitting out last year,” Cuthbert said. “It was tough, but I was glad I’m here,” Cuthbert said. “Getting back out there after redshirting at Georgia Tech, and so it was just good to be back on the field and having fun. Hopefully we can build on this, get some momentum rolling and finish strong.”

Contact Taylor Rosen at [email protected].