Flashes send Martin off with 28-6 win over Ohio

Lance Lysowski

From the opening coin toss, everything seemed to go Kent State’s way in the team’s 28-6 victory over Ohio on Friday.

The Flashes won their first coin toss of the season, won their first coach’s challenge on a Bobcats’ fumble and did not turn the ball over as they spoiled Ohio’s bid for the Mid-American Conference East Division.

The victory capped off several seniors’ careers, as well as Kent State coach Doug Martin’s seven-year tenure.

Senior safety Brian Lainhart said his final game was bitter sweet, and he hopes next year’s team can build off the momentum from the win.

“Obviously this season has not gone the way any of us expected it to or had wanted it to,” Lainhart said. “At least we get to go out on a high note. You know, send the seniors off on a high note; send Coach Martin off on a high note and really let the guys coming back build off this. Take it into spring ball and off-season workouts, and hopefully take it into next season.“

Kent State’s defense pressured Ohio senior quarterback Boo Jackson all game on Friday. Senior linebacker Cobrani Mixon hit Jackson from behind early in the first quarter. The football popped out of the quarterback’s arms and into sophomore linebacker Luke Batton’s for the touchdown and early 7-0 lead.

Throughout the game, Jackson was forced to make quick decisions because of Kent State’s defense. The result was his worst performance of the season: two fumbles and two interceptions.

Kent State jumped on his miscues, turning the four turnovers into 28 points.

Senior defensive end Monte Simmons said the team’s energy during the game came from last week’s disappointing loss to Western Michigan.

“It’s basically built on how we felt the previous week because we knew that’s not how we play,” Simmons said. “This week we knew that we didn’t have anything to lose and we wanted to go out the right way and send these coaches out the right way. Show everybody what this defense and this team can do, and we went out there and had fun. It was just a fun atmosphere and that’s the greatest way to leave this team.”

Sixth-year senior running back Eugene Jarvis, who missed most of the season with a groin injury, played his final game in a Kent State uniform and looked more like his old self.

With the Flashes leading 14-6 early in the fourth quarter, Jarvis scampered through the Bobcats defense for a 26-yard touchdown. Jarvis finished with a season-high 111 yards on 21 carries.

“Words can’t even explain it,” Jarvis said. “It was not about Coach Martin, it was about us. Coach Martin gave every guy on that team a chance to play on the division one level, so our main thing was to send him out the right way.”

With just over five minutes remaining in the game, Jackson fumbled the snap.

Officials originally blew the play dead, but Martin challenged the call. Officials saw that Mixon picked up the fumble and reversed the ruling on the field.

Senior running back Andre Flowers scored two plays later on a 10-yard run to seal the win.

The victory came on the heels of Martin’s resignation earlier this week, which caused the team to prepare unusually for Ohio.

Ohio coach Frank Solich congratulated Martin and the Flashes after the game as he admitted defeat in every facet of the game.

“My compliments to Doug and his staff,” Solich said. “They did a great job and the Kent State football team prepared very well under some trying times. When you look at the game, it wasn’t really one thing. We weren’t able to get anything going offensively.”

With the win, Kent State finishes at 5-7 (4-4 MAC) for the second year in a row.

Contact Lance Lysowski at [email protected].