Flashes fall behind early, fail to recover in loss to LSU

Nick Shook

Dri Archer’s one reception for 7 yards suggests that the tailback may have seen too much action too soon.

That appeared to be the case for the rest of the Flashes on Saturday night.

LSU (3-0) started the game off with a 58-yard touchdown run by running back Jeremy Hill, who was seeing his first major action of the season. Four minutes later, LSU was in the endzone again thanks to a 21-yard touchdown completion from quarterback Zach Mettenberger to wide receiver Jarvis Landry.

Six minutes after that, Hill was celebrating his second score of the quarter, and the rout was on.

The Flashes (1-2, 0-1 Mid-American Conference) never recovered from the early three-score deficit and suffered a major defeat, 45-13, to No. 8 LSU at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

Archer’s return lasted less than one half and was irrelevant to the outcome, as the Flashes fell behind almost immediately in the first quarter. Archer was clearly still feeling the effects of his sprained ankle and did not return in the second half.

Kent State kept pace with LSU in the second, with each team scoring 10 points apiece. But the Flashes couldn’t overcome the 21-point advantage, and LSU’s speed and athleticism proved to be the difference in the Tigers’ blowout win.

Hill rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries to lead the Tigers’ offense. Terrence Magee followed suit, rushing for 83 yards and a touchdown on six carries.

Touted as the Tigers’ much-improved quarterback, Mettenberger lived up to his billing, completing 13 of 18 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. Odell Beckham and Landry split many of Mettenberger’s completions, with Beckham hauling in five passes for 76 yards and a touchdown and Landry catching four passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Kent State was overwhelmed offensively from the outset. The Flashes’ first drive lasted three plays, netting a total of two yards and resulting in a punt. Their second drive was worse, consisting of five plays for negative-16 yards before ending in a punt.

As the Flashes’ offense couldn’t get anything started for much of the first, the defense was taxed. LSU’s three touchdowns occurred on consecutive drives of 86, 57 and 37 yards. The longest drive lasted just six plays, as the Tigers displayed offensive flash and efficiency with multiple big plays.

Each Tigers’ drive ended in a score in the first half, save for the final 17 seconds in which LSU simply ran out the clock and entered halftime with a 31-10 lead.

Kent State quarterback Colin Reardon completed 20 of 29 passes for 190 yards but was shut out of the endzone through the air. Reardon scored the Flashes’ only touchdown on a two-yard scramble early in the second quarter.

Kent State’s other two scores came from kicker Anthony Melchiori, who converted field goal attempts of 37 and 36 yards in the second and third quarters. Melchiori’s lone miss came in the middle of the fourth when he pushed a 48-yard attempt wide left.

Josh Boyle caught three passes for 53 yards, and Ernest Calhoun reeled in four passes for 24 yards. Trayion Durham carried the ball 18 times for 36 yards.

Kent State returns home for a week of preparation before heading to Penn State on Saturday.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected].