The defense did its part, now where is everyone else?

Lance Lysowski

Before Kent State fans jump to any conclusions about Saturday’s 26-13 loss to Boston College, take a look at the play of the defense.

At halftime, Eagles junior running back Montel Harris had just 22 yards on nine carries. While the heralded runner finished with 91 yards, he averaged just 2.8 yards per carry. The Flashes ended Harris’ streak of 14 games with more than 100 yards.

Much of the credit goes to the play of a patchwork defensive line, which was missing senior linemen Monte’ Simmons and Zack Williams. The Flashes recorded six tackles for a loss and put consistent pressure on Harris and sophomore quarterback Dave Shinskie.

What is more impressive is the size disadvantage Kent State overcame. The Eagles’ starting offensive line weighs an average 311 pounds, which makes the unit one of the biggest in the nation.

Two players in particular stood out on the unit. While junior Lee Stalker excelled, it was freshman Zach Hitchens and senior Quinton Rainey who showed that the size disadvantage did not bother them.

Hitchens, who weighs all of 225 pounds, did not record a tackle in limited playing time, but clashed with opponents weighing almost 100 pounds more than him and put pressure on the quarterback.

Rainey did the same. The intensity he brings to the defense is evident every play. Measuring at 5-foot-11 and 235 pounds, the senior may be one of the smallest defensive tackles in the country, but he doesn’t play like it. He finished the game with three tackles — 1.5 for a loss — and a fumble recovery.

The play behind the defensive line was as consistent as ever. While Kent State got beat on two-deep balls for touchdowns, the secondary played well. Junior cornerback Josh Pleasant has become a great open-field tackler, while his classmate Norman Wolfe improved from his week one performance.

The two most consistent performers, senior safety Brian Lainhart and senior Cobrani Mixon, continued to be the face of the defense. Mixon and Lainhart’s names were heard all day as the two combined for 26 tackles.

While the team’s loss was disappointing, the defense did its part.

Offense and special teams were a different story.

Sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith showed what a young quarterback playing against a Bowl Championship Conference school on the road looks like. He showed poise in the pocket after a slow start, but his accuracy was not there.

Errant throws found their way in Eagles’ defenders hands.

While the Flashes showed they can compete against Boston College, next weekend’s trip to Happy Valley will end in a worse result if the team does not clean up the mishaps.

Contact Lance Lysowski at