Flashes’ win over BG puts team back in contention

Lance Lysowski

Kent State’s victory against Bowling Green on Saturday shifted the team’s chances for competing for the Mid-American Conference title.

The Flashes’ 30-6 win over the Falcons puts Kent State a game and a half out of first place with home contests against first-place Ohio and second-place Temple left to play.

Senior safety Brian Lainhart said the next three home games are a relief after the team’s five road games so far and an opportunity to build off the win at Bowling Green.

“We’ve had two home games out of seven, so now we’re getting into the home stretch where there are meaningful games at home,” Lainhart said. “Hopefully we have the support like we did at Akron with the fans and everything. These meaningful games at home will be a huge advantage with the student body and the fans. We’re excited about it.”

After the Flashes lost to Miami on Oct. 2, Kent State responded with the Wagon Wheel victory. The team did the same this weekend following last weekend’s second-half collapse to Toledo.

MAC Standings

East Division:

MAC (Overall)

Ohio 4-1 (5-3)

Temple 3-1 (6-2)

Miami OH 3-1 (4-4)

Kent State 2-2 (3-4)

Buffalo 1-2 (2-5)

Bowling Green 0-4 (1-7)

Akron 0-4 (0-8)

West Division:

Northern Illinois 4-0 (6-2)

Toledo 4-0 (5-3)

Western Michigan 2-1 (3-4)

Eastern Michigan 1-3 (1-7)

Ball State 1-3 (2-6)

Central Michigan 1-4 (2-6)

Kent State coach Doug Martin called the team’s win at Doyt L. Perry Stadium a “character game,” and a win against Ball State at home next week would put the Flashes in a position to compete with Temple and Ohio.

“This is two times that we’ve come off of losses with huge wins,” Martin said. “Not losing two games in the row and being able to rebound emotionally says a lot about the character of your football team. This thing has got to propel us to more conference wins. This is a huge game next week against Ball State. If we win that game, we’re playing for some meaningful things.”

Last week, sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith struggled in the second half at Toledo. He responded this week with his best statistical performance of the season. The quarterback completed 26-of-32 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns.

“That’s what we hoped he’d looked like all year long,” Martin said. “Better late than never. As long as he continues that this week and throughout the rest of this season, we can beat anyone that’s left on our schedule if he’s playing that way.”

Keith and the Flashes will look to build off the victory that puts them into fourth place in the MAC East Division. With Miami losing to Ohio on Saturday, Kent State controls its own fate.

The remaining MAC schedule includes Ball State, Temple, Western Michigan and Ohio. For the Flashes to surpass the three teams above them in the standings, they’ll have to win their remaining conference games.

“This game coming up this Saturday is as big of a game as we’ve ever had,” Martin said. “I hope people understand that if we take care of business and we win this game, we’re going to play Temple at home after that for some very meaningful prizes. We’ll put ourselves in position to do something very special.”

Contact Lance Lysowski at [email protected].