McCloud replaces Keith in 40-10 loss

AJ Atkinson

Kent State’s passing offense was horrible in their loss last weekend to Ohio. The pass offense was even worse in their 40-10 loss to Northern Illinois today.

The game instantly started in the wrong decision, with junior quarterback Spencer Keith throwing a horrendous interception on his second pass of the game. Looking for a short screen and under pressure, Keith appeared to throw to where he knew freshman running back Anthony Meray would be standing.

What Keith did not see was 260-pound defensive lineman Nabal Jefferson standing in-front of Meray. Jefferson caught the slow screen pass and returned it 25 yards for his first career touchdown and Northern Illinois’ first touchdown of the day.

That was the last snap Keith took. Freshman Cedric McCloud came in and played the rest of the game at quarterback. McCloud’s first game at quarterback was one he’ll likely want to forget. It would not be until the third quarter until the Flashes had their first completion. McCloud finished 6-for-22 for 63 yards.

McCloud was in no way solely responsible for all of the incompletions. The line protected him poorly. McCloud often had to scramble out of the pocket and was sacked seven times.

And when McCloud was able to get the ball off, his receivers did not do the greatest at helping him out. The first completion, which occurred during Kent State’s first drive of the third quarter, was hauled in junior wide receiver Matt Hurdle. The relief of finally having a completion was ripped away, as Northern Illinois poked the ball out of Hurdle’s hands. The Huskies recovered and the nightmare for the Kent State offense continued.

With an unthreatening passing game, the Flashes had the same problems running the ball that they had against Ohio. The defense was able to blitz all day and not worry about being burned on a pass.

With an ineffective passing game that reduced the threat of the running game, the Flashes finished with 70 yards of total offense on 61 plays, while Northern Illinois finished with 344 yards on 62 plays.

Freshman running back Trayion Durham took the majority of the carries, running the ball 15 times for 39 yards. Freshman Anthony Meray finished with 26 yards on 11 carries.

The defense played well. The Flashes defense scored Kent State’s lone touchdown, as junior defensive lineman Jake Dooley forced the Huskies’ running back to fumble. Sophomore safety Luke Wollet picked up the fumble and returned it 36 yards for the touchdown.

In regards to the score, the Kent State defense was often faced defending a short field due to a turnover or a big kick return. For instance, the Huskies scored 14 points to begin the game without ever gaining more than 10 yards on either drive.

At this time, the Flashes do not have an offense. Who the starting quarterback will be next weekend is now a question—and regardless of that answer—will the offensive line block for him?

Kent State coach Darrell Hazell and his coaching staff have a week to better organize the offense before appearing again for the Flashes’ homecoming game. The 1-5 Flashes will host the 1-4 Miami Redhawks at Dix Stadium at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday.