Flashes win opener

Lance Lysowski

The Kent State football team’s offense and defense displayed explosiveness as the Flashes defeated Murray State, 41-10, last night in front of a crowd of more than 16,000.

Kent State’s offense was led by sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith, who threw a career-high three touchdown passes while throwing for 275 yards after an interception early in the second quarter.

Keith said with all of the weapons the team has on offense, opponents will not be able to key on certain players.

“It’s a great feeling to have guys on the outside who can make plays; it takes a lot of pressure off me,” Keith said. “We have so many different playmakers that it’s going to be hard for teams to stop one guy because we have other guys to step up. It’s going to be much more difficult for defenses this year.”

Keith found junior wide receiver Sam Kirkland early and often last night.

Keith threw a 16-yard touchdown to the junior with 0:19 left in the first quarter. Kirkland broke two tackles on his way to the end zone and showed playmaking ability throughout the game with diving catches and breakaway speed.

The Chesapeake, Va., native, who turned heads in spring practices, finished the game with nine receptions for a career-high 126 yards and a touchdown.

“I was just doing my job,” Kirkland said. “All summer (Spencer and I) worked hard, and Spencer makes it easy. I knew I had to get better and tried to get better every day. I knew I had to do my job on my side.”

Kent State’s defense gave the Racers trouble both on the ground and in the air.

With 3:19 left in the first quarter, Murray State senior quarterback Jeff Ehrhardt put the Racers on the board when he lofted a pass to freshman wide receiver Arthur Brackett for the touchdown.

But besides the touchdown, Kent State’s defense held Murray State to 193 total yards, including -65 rushing yards.

“It’s amazing,” senior linebacker Cobrani Mixon said. “First (Ehrhardt) was getting the ball out pretty quick, and our (defensive line) played the whole game.”

Mixon finished the game with eight tackles, while senior safety Brian Lainhart recorded nine. Senior defensive end Monte’ Simmons sacked Ehrhardt twice before leaving the game with an ankle injury.

Simmons’ injury will be evaluated today.

On the opening drive, Flashes’ fans caught a glimpse of senior running back Eugene Jarvis on the field for the first time in almost a year.

The sixth-year senior did not disappoint in his return, giving the Flashes’ the early 7-0 lead on a 6-yard touchdown run. Jarvis finished the game with 11 rushes for 45 yards.

“He is back to his old self, and he’s only going to get better,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “We really didn’t wear him out tonight, but I like where he is right now.”

While Keith recorded career numbers, Martin said the sophomore held the ball too long and needs to make adjustments moving forward.

“His growth right now is going to be finding that line between playing aggressively and too aggressively,” Martin said.

Senior wide receiver Anthony Bowman Jr. returned a 92-yard kickoff for a touchdown to open the second half, while junior running back Jacquise “Speedy” Terry ran the ball 11 times for 30 yards and caught four passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns.

Next week the Flashes travel to Boston to take on Boston College at Alumni Stadium.

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].

Kent State vs. Murray State: Season opener