Trick and treat

Lance Lysowski

Flashes score win over Cardinals while Cribbs donates money to program.

Sam Kirkland tossed a 24-yard pass to freshman tight end Tim Erjavec for the touchdown to put Ball State away late in the fourth quarter.

Yes, junior wide receiver Sam Kirkland.

Kent State (4-4, 3-2 Mid-American Conference) called a similar fake screen-pass play against Boston College on Sept. 11, but Kirkland threw an untimely interception. He thought his passing days were over after that.

“It was a little trick play we’ve been working on,” Kirkland said. “I didn’t think (Kent State coach Doug Martin) would give me another chance at throwing the ball since I threw a pick at Boston College. I had to score on this one.”

Martin agreed.

“If you hadn’t of scored that would have been the last one,” Martin joked in the press conference after Kent State’s 33-14 win over Ball State on Saturday.

The play counted for just 24 of the team’s season-high 452 total yards on offense, and the Flashes’ 20 second-half points were the most so far this season. The win also gave Kent State its first back-to-back victories.

Martin said the win continues to show Kent State’s team this season is unlike past teams in school history.

“We talked about all of this week exposing character and getting on a win streak and having the character and fortitude to begin to win and play consistently,” Martin said. “That’s what I thought our guys did tonight. They came out with a lot of enthusiasm, they were on a mission and play well on both sides of the ball.”

The win came at a steep price though. The Flashes lost senior linebacker Cobrani Mixon and junior running back Jacquise “Speedy” Terry to shoulder injuries. Both were sat for the remainder of the game for precautionary reasons.

Josh Cribbs’ Jersey Retired

Cleveland Browns wide receiver and former Kent State quarterback Josh Cribbs had his No. 9 jersey retired during a halftime ceremony on Saturday.

His family was in attendance, as well as former Kent State coach and current Baltimore Ravens linebackers coach Dean Pees.

After the jersey retirement, Cribbs announced a $100,000 donation to Kent State football.

“I’m trying to set a precedent for guys, you know so when they make it to the league they can give things back,” Cribbs said. “Give back to your school so greater things can happen for that school so we can essentially put our school on the map. Since I’ve been here, the field, we used to have astro turf so falling on that it really hurts. We got a new field, a scoreboard, the stadium; so everything is being picked up. It’s a great university and it’s only going up from here.”

The player who stepped in for Terry jump-started the Flashes’ offense in the second half. After Terry and sophomore running back Dri Archer fumbled, Martin and running backs coach Jerry McManus decided to give fifth-year senior Andre Flowers a chance to play to his strength — wearing down the opposing defense by running up the middle.

Flowers did just that.

Flowers, a 220-pound power runner, played just over one quarter but led the team in rushing with 80 yards on 16 carries. Flowers’ first four plays from scrimmage gained a combined 37 yards.

Sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith said Flowers’ ability to help the offense close out Ball State was invaluable to the victory that keeps the Flashes alive in the MAC East Division race.

“He helped a whole lot, especially in the second half he had like 80 yards and that’s huge because we’re trying to make plays in the second half, which we hadn’t in the past couple of games in conference play,” Keith said. “He helped our running game a whole lot, and I’m sure he’ll do that the rest of the season.”

Kent State’s defense continued to force their opponent to throw the football, which caused problems for Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning. The Cardinals averaged just 2.3 yards per rush, which forced Wenning to throw 32 passes.

The freshman, who eluded the Kent State pass rush for the entire game, did not get sacked but threw three interceptions while under pressure.

“Ball State came in as second or third in rushing offenses in the MAC and I believe we held them to 2.3 yards per rush,” Martin said. “That’s what our defense is doing well. They’re making teams one-dimensional. When you can make teams to have to throw the ball then those guys up front can turn it loose.”

The win keeps the Flashes’ MAC title hopes alive with first-place Temple visiting Dix Stadium on Saturday. With games against the Owls and second-place Ohio left to play, Kent State controls its own fate.

“We are getting ready to play a very meaningful game next week against Temple,” Martin said. “The winner of that game is going to have a lot to say about who wins the MAC East Championship.”

Contact Lance Lysowski at

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