Turnovers send Flashes to 26-13 loss

Lance Lysowski

More than just the offense felt the effects of senior running back Eugene Jarvis’ absence at Boston College on Saturday.

While Jarvis was out with a groin injury, the Flashes lost two fumbles on punt returns with sophomore running back Dri Archer and senior wide receiver Leneric Muldrow filling in. The Eagles turned those two fumbles and three more interceptions into 20 points in the Flashes’ 26-13 loss.

Sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith tossed two interceptions, and junior wide receiver Sam Kirkland’s wide receiver screen pass was picked off.

Kent State coach Doug Martin said the defense kept the game within reach — but particularly the two fumbles surrendered by Archer and Muldrow on punt returns — gave Boston College the game.

“We really played well defensively all day,” Martin said. “The two punt returns we fumbled really hurt us. You can’t give a team like Boston College those opportunities or it’s going to catch you. The positive is the way our defense rose to the occasion and went up there and held them to field goals. It was just a tremendous effort.”

The turnovers left the defense on the field for almost 35 minutes of the game and gave Boston College favorable field position. The Flashes held the Eagles to two field goals in the first half, but later allowed two passing touchdowns by Boston College sophomore quarterback Dave Shinskie.

Senior safety Brian Lainhart, who finished the game with 11 tackles, said he liked the unit’s play, but allowing Shinskie’s touchdown passes was unacceptable.

“We just have to make plays on the ball,” Lainhart said. “We had two chances on deep balls they threw and they completed them for two touchdowns. We were in position, but we have to make a play.”

The offense struggled throughout the day. Boston College’s defense, led by sophomore linebacker Luke Kuechly’s 11 tackles, kept Kent State’s offense focused on throwing down field. The Eagles limited the Flashes to four rushing yards on 17 attempts for an average of 0.2 yards per carry.

Martin said he was disappointed with the play of his running backs, and he thought his starting quarterback struggled against the Eagles’ defense.

“(Keith) got outside the frame work of the offense a couple of times,” Martin said. “When he threw the first interception, he made the right decision, but he threw it behind the receiver. The second interception was a high ball on a slant. For the most part, he was just a click off. He wasn’t as accurate as he usually is, and I didn’t think his decision making was quite as sharp as what it usually is.”

The Flashes have another tough task at hand this Saturday when they travel to Happy Valley to play Penn State (1-1).

Martin said the Flashes need to continue making team’s offenses one dimensional by stopping the run, and if they can avoid turnovers they will compete with Penn State.

“If we can go to Penn State and take care of the football and not beat ourselves — just don’t beat ourselves — then our players will gain a valuable lesson that we can go into our conference and play with anybody,” Martin said. “If we do that, we will get Penn State in the fourth quarter and have a chance. We have to grow up, and take care of the football.”

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