Road to redemption

Nick Walton

Flashes tie for second in MAC East division with win in Athens

Reread the live blog from Saturday’s game.

The Kent State football team offense took four quarters to find the end zone against Ohio.

This wasn’t a problem as the defense played its best game of the season, helping the Flashes defeat Ohio, 20-11.

The win puts Kent State in a tie for second place in the Mid-American Conference East division with Ohio.

“(The defense) just got tired of being sick and tired,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “They got tired of giving up points when they shouldn’t have. They’re still stinging from that Bowling Green game a little bit, and I think just emotionally they’ve gotten themselves back to playing the type of football that we should play around here defensively.”

Two weeks ago, the Flashes surrendered 19 points in the final quarter to lose 36-35 to Bowling Green. Between last week against Eastern Michigan and Saturday’s game, the Kent State defense has allowed 17 points.

Kent State sacked Ohio senior quarterback Theo Scott and freshman quarterback Tyler Tettleton a season-high seven times while holding the Bobcats to minus-9 rushing yards and forcing three turnovers. Prior to Saturday’s game, Ohio hadn’t given up a sack since the second game of the season.

“We changed that stat,” junior safety Brian Lainhart said.

Kent State’s defensive line pressured Ohio throughout the game, combining for 5.5 sacks. Senior defensive lineman Kevin Hogan led the team in sacks with 2.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for a loss.

The Flashes collectively made 15 tackles for a loss of 68 yards.

“Our (defensive) line played great (Saturday),” junior linebacker Cobrani Mixon said. “All week we’ve been hearing about how (Ohio) doesn’t give up sacks and that motivated them.”

Ohio’s only touchdown of the game was an 87-yard punt return by junior wide receiver LaVon Brazill with 2:18 left in the game.

After taking a 6-3 lead in the third quarter, Kent State scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to extend its lead. The Flashes’ offense was efficient, converting a season-high six third downs and maintaining possession for a season-high 34:23 minutes.

Freshman quarterback Spencer Keith threw for a season-high 273 yards while completing 23-of-38 passes for two touchdowns and an interception. Keith had support from his wide receivers, as sophomore wide receiver Sam Kirkland and freshman wide receiver Tyshon Goode combined for 190 receiving yards on 14 receptions.

“We focused all week on having our wide receivers making plays like throwing fade routes and having them going up and getting the ball,” Keith said. “They did a great job the first and second half going to get it, making tough plays – those were really the plays that helped us win the game.”

After having a total of 28 rushing yards on 10 carries in the first half, sophomore running back Jacquise “Speedy” Terry finished the game with a career-high 110 yards on 31 carries. Kent State established their rushing attack in the third quarter as Terry rushed for 94 yards on 22 carries in the quarter.

“I was patient with the blocks, the (offensive) line and the receivers blocked real well,” Terry said. “I just found a seam and got to the secondary and made some explosion plays.”

Despite winning three of their first four conference games for the second time since 1986, Terry said the Flashes are not satisfied.

“We really can’t look in the future because we’re in the present right now,” Terry said. “We really can’t be satisfied right now, we have to go and be ready for Western Michigan and go ahead and continue our quest to win a MAC Championship.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].

The Game

Sacks galore

Kent State’s seven sacks were the most in a game since a 24-0 win over Ohio in 1994. The Flashes currently lead the conference in sacks with 26.

Making themselves at home

Since 2001, Kent State has won four of the five games against Ohio in Athens. The Bobcats have had similar success at Dix Stadium, winning three of the last four meetings in Kent.

Almost in first

After beating Ohio, Kent State would be in a three-way tie if Toledo beat Temple. The Owls defeated the Rockets 40-24 to maintain their lead in the East division.