Football hopes young offense clicks against BG

Nick Walton

Keith, Terry will lead a youthful offense

For the last two games, the Kent State football team rotated quarterbacks while looking for consistency on offense, but that’s over.

The Flashes (2-3, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) will start freshman quarterback Spencer Keith tomorrow as conference play resumes against Bowling Green.

“We’re going to play Spencer and let him go unless there’s some need to play (sophomore quarterback) Giorgio (Morgan),” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “It’s really nothing against Giorgio. He’s really played pretty good; he’s just not making the plays consistently that Spencer is.”



Where: Dix Stadium

When:3:30 p.m. tomorrow

Television: Fox Sports Network Ohio

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Radio: WNIR 100.1 FM

Last Saturday against Baylor, Keith completed 21-of-39 passes for 206 yards and an interception. Keith leads the Flashes with four passing touchdowns this season.

“He’s really unlike any freshman quarterback I’ve had,” Martin said. “Usually they get locked in on one receiver that they like, so they always look for that guy. he’s really not like that. He understands the game, he’ll move his eyes around, and he makes some good throws.”

Martin said Morgan encouraged the team to play Keith in the second half against Baylor.

“At halftime of the game, I was talking to Giorgio by myself, and he said ‘Coach, Spencer is playing better right now. Let him play,'” Martin said. “(Morgan)’s a real mature kid, and he is a great team player. I don’t think I’ve ever had a player be that mature about that type of decision.”

Senior wide receiver Jameson Konz said the progression of Keith has been evident since training camp.

“Even when he showed up at camp you could just tell when he was in the huddle there was a presence there,” Konz said. “He’s had to grow up really fast, and I definitely think that people respect him, and he makes the throws and makes good reads. If the coaches choose to play him at quarterback, we’re going to be behind him 100 percent.”

Konz currently leads the team with two receiving touchdowns and is third in receptions with 10.

After rushing for fewer than 100 yards against Boston College and Iowa State, Kent State’s running game has improved with the return of sophomore running back Jacquise “Speedy” Terry to the backfield. In two games, Terry already leads the team in rushing with 212 yards and an average of 7.9 yards per carry.

Against Baylor, Terry scored on a 61-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

“Jacquise having another 100 yards was absolutely huge, especially against that defensive front,” Martin said. “I thought our guys competed well up front and Jacquise made plays.”

Terry started the season as a wide receiver but returned to running back after senior running back Eugene Jarvis suffered a kidney injury.

Despite effectively moving the ball against Baylor, the Flashes couldn’t capitalize on three trips to the redzone in the second half. Martin said the young offense has adjusted to playing together but now needs to execute plays to take advantage of scoring opportunities.

Some opportunities were squandered as freshman kicker Freddy Cortez missed two field goal attempts and had an extra point blocked. After being pushed around on field goals by Baylor’s defensive line, Martin said there will be changes on the offensive line for field goals, including possibly playing defensive players on the line.

Bowling Green (1-4, 0-1 MAC) is coming off a 44-37 loss to Ohio. Martin said the Flashes’ offense has to capitalize on scoring opportunities against the Falcons.

“We got to put points on the board because we’re not going to shut Bowling Green out,” Martin said. “They’ve scored on everybody they’ve played this year and moved the ball on everybody they’ve played. For us to win this game, our offense has got to be productive in yardage and on the scoreboard.”

Bowling Green senior quarterback Tyler Sheehan has thrown for 1,455 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Martin said stopping Bowling Green’s running game will be important.

In the last two meetings, Bowling Green has rushed for a total of 458 yards against Kent State.

“They’re relying heavily on the pass. They’re not running the ball as much as they have in the past,” Martin said. “We have to make them beat us throwing the football. If they come out here and they’re able to run the ball, then it’s going to be a long day for us.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].