Division title aspirations end against Temple

Nick Walton

Meltdown in second half ends Flashes’ hopes of MAC East championship title

Heading into the third quarter against Temple, the Kent State football team’s chance of winning the Mid-American Conference East division was a stretch.

By the end of the third quarter, that chance was gone.

Blowing a 10-9 halftime lead, the Flashes allowed 38 points in the second half to lose 47-13 at Temple on Saturday.

“Once our defense was on the field the whole second half, we couldn’t get any first downs to get them off the field,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “I think they got tired by the end, and Temple wears you down eventually.”

After freshman quarterback Spencer Keith left the game with a shoulder injury in third quarter, Kent State’s offense was unable to keep up with Temple. Keith’s backups, senior Anthony Magazu and sophomore Giorgio Morgan completed 3-of-10 passes for 24 yards with two turnovers.

“They tried to fight hard, but when you lose your starting quarterback, it’s a tough deal,”

Martin said, “It’s the second time it’s happened to us this year, and it’s tough to overcome, especially when you’re playing a defense that good.”

Before leaving the game, Keith completed 18-of-31 passes for 232 yards, a 6-yard touchdown to sophomore wide receiver Kendrick Pressley and an interception. Keith isn’t expected to play in the season finale against Buffalo.

Even with the return of sophomore running back Jacquise “Speedy” Terry from an MCL injury, the Flashes’ running game was unable to help create any balance on offense with 65 total yards on 30 carries.

Despite losing freshman running back Bernard Pierce, the conference’s leading rusher, to an injury in the first quarter, Temple’s running game was still efficient. Freshman wide receiver Matt Brown rushed for 156 on 18 carries and two touchdowns as the Owls totaled 275 yards on 38 carries.

With one game remaining in the season, Martin said he told the team there is still a lot to play for.

“They still have a chance to be a bowl-eligible team for the second time in four years, which hasn’t happened in Kent State since the 70s,” Martin said. “But we’re about to do it without Spencer Keith – we’re going to have to overcome a lot to get it done.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].

Halftime letdown

For the first time this season, the Flashes lost a game they led at halftime. Kent State was 5-0 in games it led at halftime prior to Saturday’s game.

Turnover machine

Junior safety Brian Lainhart’s interception in the second quarter was his sixth of the season. In the last 18 games, Lainhart has produced 15 turnovers.

Career long for Cortez

Freshman kicker Freddy Cortez made 2-of-3 field goal attempts against Temple, including a career-long 46-yard attempt in the fourth quarter. Cortez has made 11-of-13 attempts during MAC play