Flashes struggle to score, fall to Ohio in opener

Taylor Rosen

Box Score

Ohio managed to overcome four, second-half fumbles and kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired to defeat the Flashes in the season opener, 17-14.

“Tonight was a tough loss,” Kent State head coach Paul Haynes said. “I’m sure when we watch the film there will be a lot of things we can improve on. I love the fight of these guys. They fought like crazy, and kept on coming back.”

The Bobcats combined for a total 437 yards of offense, including seven of 14 on third-down conversions. The Flashes had 295 total yards of offense, but were penalized eight times for a total of 44 yards.

Remembering Jason Bitsko

In honor of Jason Bitsko, Kent State Athletics unveiled a ‘54’ emblem on the 27-yard line at Dix Stadium earlier this week.

Bitsko, 21, died unexpectedly two weeks ago in his off-campus apartment in Brimfield, Ohio.

The 6-foot-3, 280-pound junior lineman started at right tackle last season, and looked forward to becoming the team’s starting center this season.

Kent State quarterback Colin Reardon completed 30 of 41 passes for 264 yards and a touchdown that night.

“We were trying against a tough defense,” Reardon said. “We just kind of shot ourselves in the foot a little bit. We have so much potential to do great things. We have to clean it up a little bit, and I’ll take the blame for that.”

The Flashes dominated the turnover battle in Saturday’s game, recovering four Ohio fumbles in the second half and giving up zero.

“We just came up short, but we will get better,” Haynes said. “We will stick together and get started for South Alabama.”

The possession battle was almost dead even, but Ohio converted on a couple of big fourth downs to keep drives alive.

“You have to give them credit,” Haynes said. “They played tough hard-nose football. I’m sure when we watch the film there will be many things we could have done better. I’m not going to second guess us on what we did and how we did it.”

Kent State, Ohio unite

Kent State and Ohio might have battled on the field Saturday, but the presidents of these two universities recently came together as teammates in future educational collaborations.

This is not the first time Kent State President Beverly Warren and Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis have worked together. The two spent time at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“We have common goals in enhancing student success and preparing students to become the leaders of tomorrow’s global workforce,” Warren said in a Kent State press release. “When we look at the strengths and unique programs of each university, I am confident we will identify strategic partnerships that will create tremendous opportunities for students from both schools to excel.”

With Warren and McDavis now in leadership roles at Kent State and Ohio, respectively, the universities, along with their surrounding communities, will unite for strategic collaboration in such areas as student success, research, community engagement and economic development. They will continue their “long-standing partnership with the goal of developing a strong alliance between the institutions,” according to a university press release.

Contact Taylor Rosen at [email protected].