Flashes hold on while RedHawks drop the ball

Nick Walton

Flashes beat Miami 29-19

Against Iowa State last Saturday, the Kent State football teams five turnovers prevented them from winning.

In Saturday’s rain-soaked Mid-American Conference opener against Miami, the Flashes used turnovers to their advantage to win 29-19.

“We lost last week to Iowa State because we turned the ball over, and this week we didn’t,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “To me, not turning the ball over was just the biggest thing we could’ve done tonight.”

Despite giving up 552 yards of total offense and having the ball for 10 minutes less than Miami, Kent State’s five forced turnovers negated the RedHawks’ long drives.

The Flashes never trailed after taking an early 6-3 lead when junior running back Anthony Bowman returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown. Freshman running back Dri Archer’s 28-yard touchdown run in the second quarter gave Kent State a 13-3 lead.

After rushing for 47 yards against Iowa State, the Flashes had 173 rushing yards in the intermittent downpour.

“In the rain we weren’t going to jeopardize turning the ball over, (so) we were just going to run,” Martin said. “Our players knew it. (Miami) knew it, but they couldn’t stop it.”

Sophomore running back Jacquise “Speedy” Terry rushed for 103 yards on 15 carries. Terry was playing wide receiver at the beginning of the season but is back to playing running back after the injury to senior running back Eugene Jarvis.

“Coach (Martin) told me he wanted me to get on the field, and no matter how I’m on the field he wanted me to make plays,” Terry said. “When my opportunity came, I just had to go in and make plays.”

Despite going 5-for-11 through the air, sophomore quarterback Giorgio Morgan and freshman quarterback Spencer Keith were effective at moving the ball and not committing turnovers.

“We’ve got two great quarterbacks,” Martin said. “That’s a good problem to have – I’m really comfortable with both of those guys.”

Morgan started the game and, after dealing with an ankle injury that kept him out of the last game, showed mobility by rushing for 34 yards on six carries.

On his first pass attempt, Keith completed a 56-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jameson Konz in the third quarter.

Normally a problem for the Flashes, special teams play was key to maintaining their lead.

“We’ve been haunted so much with special teams last couple of years,” Martin said. “It’s so refreshing to know that you can make plays and win games in that area.”

Senior wide receiver Derek McBryde blocked a punt in the second quarter and freshman kicker Freddy Cortez made three field goals, including the first of his collegiate career. Cortez’s kick with 1:19 left in the fourth quarter sealed the victory for the Flashes.

“I don’t try to put pressure on myself because I already know the team itself already has a lot of pressure on me as it is,” Cortez said. “I was actually a little nervous on (the last field goal). I just did what I usually do and surprisingly it went in.”

Against the Flashes’ defense, Miami freshman quarterback Zac Dysert rushed for 119 yards on 17 carries and completed 31-for-53 passes for 337 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Dysert’s scrambling ability allowed Miami to keep drives alive as they converted 9-of-17 third down conversions.

“That’s frustrating when we got coverage, and we miss tackles when we have him bottled up,” junior linebacker Cobrani Mixon said. “He’s kind of quick, so I think we kind of underestimated that in practice.”

Martin said the game was a great one to build on to start conference play.

“We talked to players about all these conference games being one-game MAC championships,” Martin said. “That’s what we came in here in mind tonight that we were going to play Miami for a one-game MAC championship. that was as good of a team win as I think I’ve ever been around.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected]