Offensive woes plague Flashes in 17-10 loss to Ohio

AJ Atkinson

Kent State’s defense controlled one of the highest scoring offenses in the Mid-American Conference, but the Kent State offense remained nonthreatening, resulting in a 17-10 loss to Ohio in their first conference game of the season.

The Flashes’ defense had one of their better starts of the season to open up the Kent vs. Ohio rivalry game. The Flashes’ defense instantly turned the momentum in Kent State’s favor by blocking a 41-yard field goal attempt on Ohio’s first drive of the game.

The offense responded by moving the ball 26 yards down the field before junior quarterback Spencer Keith threw an interception on a 17-yard pass attempt.

After forcing the Bobcats’ to punt on their first possession after the interception, the Flashes’ special teams unit came up with another big play. The Flashes forced the Bobcats to punt a second time, but from Ohio’s 44-yard line. Sophomore Richard Gray broke through the line and blocked the Bobcats’ punt. Freshman running back Anthony Meray recovered the ball and brought it to Ohio’s 23-yard line.,/p>

Despite Kent State’s opportune positioning, the drive ended there. Kent State opened the drive using senior running back Jacquise Terry on a running back pass play. The tailback’s throw fell short of his target and into the arms of Ohio’s Gerald Moore.

The Flashes’ defense never gave up, especially junior linebacker C.J. Malauulu. The 6 foot 1 inch 235-pound linebacker recorded eight tackles (with 2.5 of those for a loss), one sack and a fumble. His fumble is what generated Kent State’s only touchdown.

Ohio’s Tyler Tettleton ran the ball for five yards on a quarterback draw until Malauulu punched the ball out of Tettleton’s hands from behind. Junior defensive lineman Dana Brown Jr., who is filling in for the injured senior defensive lineman Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, dove on the fumble and gave Kent State the ball at Ohio’s 25-yard line. After a 12 yard rush from Meray and an eight-yard rush by freshman running back Trayion Durham, Keith ran the ball a yard into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run to give the Flashes their one touchdown of the game.

That was primarily all for the Flashes. The Kent State defense held Ohio to 17 points, but the Flashes’ offense never found their rhythm. Keith finished 15 for 35 for 117 yards, two interceptions and one rushing touchdown.

Keith is not all at fault for his stats. The offensive line struggled. Keith was under constant pressure and was sacked three times. The running game also struggled due to the offensive line not producing running lanes for them. The running backs only rushing the ball for 83 yards on 32 carries.

The Flashes passing game was s little of a worry to the Bobcats that all they concerned themselves with was shutting down the Flashes’ running game. If Kent State was passing, Ohio could make the adjustment, and if they guessed wrong, the pass was often off target or dropped.

The Flashes have a week to re-organize and fix their offense before facing their next MAC opponent, Northern Illinois. The Huskies were 2-2 going into Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Illinois.