Football enters game shaken by injuries

Nick Walton

CAITLIN SIRSE | DAILY KENT STATER Freshman quarterback Spencer Keith makes a pass during practice Thursday evening. Keith will start for the Flashes as they take on Iowa State tomorrow at home at 7 p.m. Caitlin Sirse | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

After a week of disappointing news and uncertainty, the Kent State football team will try to move on at 7 tomorrow night against Iowa State.

For the first time since 2006, the Flashes (1-1) will host a Bowl Championship Series team at Dix Stadium.

“That’s big (because) that hasn’t happened very often here, and the last time we had (a BCS team) here.was Minnesota in 2006,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “I hope that our fans will embrace that. We need all of them here. We need all the help we can get.”

Iowa State (1-1) comes into the game after losing 35-3 last week to Iowa. The Cyclones defeated North Dakota State 34-17 in their season opener.

After sophomore quarterback Giorgio Morgan re-injured his ankle against Boston College, Martin expects freshman quarterback Spencer Keith to start tomorrow but also split time with senior quarterback Anthony Magazu.

The Game:


Where: Dix Stadium

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Live stream:

(available for free on campus)

Radio: WNIR 100.1 FM, Black Squirrel Radio

Martin said Keith has earned the respect of the team after his play at Boston College. Keith was intercepted on the first pass of his college career but later led the Flashes on a drive for his first career touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

“Once Spencer went in there and showed what he could do Saturday leading the touchdown drive, I think from that time on, our players had all the confidence in the world in him,” Martin said. “I’m sure Anthony will play some also just to give Spencer a break and if he’s struggling maybe just to settle him down again.”

Kent State will need help from the running back tandem junior Andre Flowers and freshman Dri Archer to replace the production of senior Eugene Jarvis after he suffered a season-ending kidney injury. Flowers said the team is using Jarvis’ injury as motivation for the rest of the season.

“I think losing (Jarvis) is enough momentum for us as a team because that’s really going to.motivate us the whole season to win,” Flowers said. “We’re basically going to dedicate this whole season to (Jarvis), and that’s going to be a momentum driver for us.”

Flowers said he doesn’t feel the team will be distracted by the backdrop of winning for Jarvis.

“We understand that this is all coming from the heart because we want to win this for him,” Flowers said. “At the same time I think everybody understands we still have to stay focused – it’s not really going to be a big distraction.”

While splitting carries with Jarvis, Flowers has 49 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown against Coastal Carolina. Flowers said he doesn’t feel any pressure to live up to Jarvis’ production.

“There’s always going to be pressure, that’s part of the game,” Flowers said. “Every player has his own special (talent).Eugene’s a great player, and we’re all different, so I just got to come out and do what I do best.”

After shutting out Coastal Carolina, the Flashes’ defense gave up 34 points and 349 yards on offense at Boston College. Martin said the defense cannot give up big plays against Iowa State.

“What we got to do is not give up explosive plays like we did Saturday,” Martin said. “I think we’ll stop the run, but we got to play good against the play action pass.”

In a 48-28 loss at Iowa State last season, the Flashes lost four fumbles and sophomore punter Matt Rinehart had two punts blocked.

In the return game, Martin said junior running back Alan Vanderink will return punts in place of Jarvis.

“Their punt team has not given up one yard in punt returns in two games,” Martin said. “We got to manufacture something in that area, we got to help our offense get some field position.”

Playing Iowa State two consecutive years, Flowers said Kent State is confident against the team.

“Playing teams like that two years straight, you kind of get the feeling of what they’re going to do and their tendencies,” Flowers said. “You not really as nervous as you are playing a team for the first time as you are for two straight years.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].

Listen to sports editors talk about the Kent State vs. Iowa State football game.