Flashes seek first victory against South Alabama

Quaterback Colin Reardon throws a pass at the season opener game against the Ohio University Bobcats Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014 in Dix Stadium. The Flashes lost 17-14 with an opposing field goal scored in the last three seconds of the game.

Taylor Rosen

The Kent State football team (0-1) is entering week two, searching for its first win of the season, and will battle the University of South Alabama Saturday.

South Alabama is coming off of a 6-6 season, and exactly half of the Jaguars’ six losses last season came by a margin of only two points.

“South Alabama is a very athletic football team,” Kent State head coach Paul Haynes said. “We have to do a good job of making sure that we tackle and get our blocks.”

Haynes and sophomore quarterback Colin Reardon pointed out the skill level and athleticism of South Alabama’s defensive unit as something to hone in on before Saturday’s game.

“You need to look at the safeties because they never lie,” Reardon said. “You can tell when pressure is coming or where a blitz is coming from. Just look for the guys that really stand out on film to be aware of when throwing the ball.”

Last week, Kent State found itself on the wrong side of a tightly contested game against Ohio in which the Flashes’ fate was decided by a Bobcats field goal as time expired. The clutch field goal lifted Ohio over Kent State, 17-14, just in the knick of time.

“We had many big plays that we just left out on the field,” the 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore quarterback said. “I feel everything is good, but we’re just a step behind on execution right now.”

The Bobcats moved the ball down the field late in the fourth quarter of a tie ball game and kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Ohio,” Haynes said. “We just have to do a lot of the little things better, and hopefully we’ll put more points on the board against South Alabama. “Anytime that we don’t win we grade the performance as average, but we did not turn the ball over and that is key. We have to make sure we continue to move the ball when we get in third down situations.”

Reardon led the Flashes offense against Ohio. Reardon completed 30 of his 41 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. Reardon also carried the ball eight times for 10 yards, and was sacked twice in the evening.

“I feel much more comfortable controlling the offense,” Reardon said. “It’s time for me to just play, and not think as much.”

As a freshman, Reardon threw for 1,957 yards, rushed for 336 yards on the ground and finished the season with 12 passing touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 58.9.

His 12 passing touchdowns in 2013 tied him for eighth in program history for most passing touchdowns in a single season at Kent State.

Reardon and the Flashes hope to draw another large crowd at Dix Stadium this Saturday afternoon when they take on the Jaguars at 2 p.m.

“Last week was a huge crowd, and that just adds so much more fire behind this team,” Reardon said. “It was really exciting getting to see all the athletes, friends and family members out here to support us.”

Contact Taylor Rosen at [email protected].