Missed opportunities

Lance Lysowski

Kent State’s defense forced three turnovers, but the offense failed to do its part in an attempt to pull off an upset over No. 22 Penn State.

The Flashes only generated 228 yards of total offense, and went 4-for-14 on third down conversions as the Flashes fell 24-0 on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

Although Penn State turned the ball over in their first two offensive drives of the second half, the Flashes could not capitalize. The result was sophomore kicker Freddy Cortez’s missed 47-yard field goal attempt and a three-and-out drive by the offense.

Junior cornerback Norman Wolfe intercepted two of Penn State freshman quarterback Robert Bolden’s passes, but the Flashes could not get anything going on offense.

Martin said despite Penn State scoring 24 points, he was proud of his defense’s play when they were put in a tough position by turnovers and mishaps on offense.

“I was really proud of our effort especially on the defensive side of the ball,” Martin said. “We played about as well as we could play and we put our defense in some tough situations with turnovers early in the game. Those turnovers were really the difference.”

On the third play of the game, sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith’s pass to junior wide receiver Sam Kirkland was intercepted. The Nittany Lions then drove to the endzone and scored on Bolden’s one-yard touchdown run.

On multiple occasions, Keith failed to find open receivers as balls over receiver’s heads and sailed out of bounds or in Nittany Lions defenders’ hands. The sophomore finished the game completing 20-of-36 passes for 170 yards and two interceptions.

Kent State coach Doug Martin said that while Keith’s accuracy was questionable, the offensive line failed to protect the signal caller.

“I was really disappointed with the way he played in the first half with the two interceptions,” Martin said. “You know the first one was really a poor throw, but Penn State has a lot to do with that, too. They were getting a lot of pressure on him. They give you really tight windows to throw into and there is not a lot of space out there with the speed they have in the secondary, but Spencer can certainly play a little better than he did (Saturday).”

The Nittany Lions also shut down Kent State’s running game. In the first quarter, junior running back Jacquise “Speedy” Terry’s 32-yard run up the middle was the longest of the season for the Flashes, but the Nittany Lions recovered. Terry finished the game with 11 rushes for 42 yards while sophomore running back Dri Archer rushed seven times for 32 yards.

“They are a really good defensive football team especially up front,” Martin said. “They probably overmatched us a little bit on the defensive line, their two edge rushers especially.

“It was a well-fought game and I thought we kept it close for a long time. We just could not make any plays offensively to get points on the board to get us over the hump.”

The Flashes have a week to recover from back-to-back losses and will start Mid-American Conference play on Oct. 2 at Miami (2-1).

Contact Lance Lysowski at [email protected].

Check out the blogs about the football game

The Lysowski Rant: Spencer Keith, where are you?

Shooting the J: Opportunity knocked, but no one was home

Box score:

No. 22 Penn State 24, Kent State 0

Scoring drives:

1st 9:06 Bolden 1-yard run (Wagner kick) — PSU

1st 4:06 Royster 3-yard run (Wagner kick) — PSU

3rd 1:11 Wagner 27-yard field goal — PSU

4th 8:27 Smith 48-yard pass from Bolden (Wagner kick) — PSU

Player of the game: Norman Wolfe (2 interceptions)

Stat of the game: 0

Penn State held Kent State to zero points despite turning the ball over on three consecutive possessions.