Kent State has first conference loss to the Bobcats


Ohio’s Tyler Tettleton dives for extra yards against the Kent State defense at Peden Stadium, Athens, OH, on October 1, 2011. Tettleton amased 20 yards on the ground, and 276 yards through the air leading the Bobcats to their 17-10 win. Photo by Jason Edward Chow.

AJ Atkinson

Kent State’s search for a rhythm on offense continues, as the Flashes fell 17-10 against the Bobcats for their first conference loss and fourth loss of the season.

The Flashes held the Bobcats’ offense to 17 points, an impressive number being that the Bobcats were averaging 36 points per game going into Saturday’s contest. But the Flashes’ struggling offensive line and poor passing game could offer no more than 10 points.

“It was frustrating,” Kent State coach Darrell Hazell said after the game. “We didn’t execute the way we could have and should have. The game was right there in our reach and we couldn’t get it going offensively to take the pressure off the defense.”

The defense and special teams did all they could against Ohio. Junior Luke Batton blocked a field goal, sophomore Richard Gray blocked a punt and junior linebacker C.J. Malauulu forced a fumble that was recovered by junior defensive lineman Dana Brown, Jr.

The Flashes’ offense scored their lone touchdown after Malauulu’s forced fumble but fell short of capitalizing on any other opportunity.

After the blocked field goal, junior quarterback Spencer Keith threw an interception. After the blocked punt the Flashes called a trick play from the Bobcats’ 23-yard line that went wrong. Senior running back Jacquise Terry was to throw a running back pass. He received the toss from Keith, aimed for junior wide receiver Tyshon Goode, but his pass was short and fell in the arms of one of Ohio’s defensive backs.

Hazell said the play had some flaws before it was snapped. The offense forgot to put a receiver in motion and that may have changed the defense’s setup.

“We had a wide-open halfback-pass early in the game, and we threw an interception,” Hazell said.

Hazell said the team has to improve.

“There were too many dropped balls and not enough good execution,” Hazell said. “We’ve just got to get a whole lot better than we are right now.”

With the passing game being little of a threat to Ohio, all the defense had to worry about was stopping the Flashes’ run game. The running backs were only able to run for 83 yards on 32 carries, an average of 2.6 yards per carry.

“(Ohio was) bringing a safety up on the strong side and that got us a few times, and (the offensive line) fell off the block a few times,” Hazell said of the Flashes’ running game.

Hazell said the main area the Flashes will concentrate on in is the passing game, because the inability to pass means losses. Keith only converted 15 of 36 passes and threw three interceptions. Another area to look at is the offensive line, which did not produce lanes for the running backs and put constant pressure on Keith, allowing him to be sacked three times.

“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board tomorrow and find a way to right the ship,” Hazell said.

The Flashes have a week to improve before facing their second Mid-American Conference opponent, Northern Illinois. The 2-3 Huskies will face the 1-4 Flashes Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in DeKalb, Illinois.

Contact AJ Atkinson at [email protected] and @aj_atkinson.