Defense rules roost in Flashes’ 18-0 win

Nick Walton

Jarvis rushes for 141 yards in first game

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Kent State won its first home opener since 2002 as the Flashes shut out Coastal Carolina for an 18-0 win at Dix Stadium last night.

In a game where only two touchdowns were scored, Kent State’s defensive unit stepped up for their first shutout since 1994.

“163 games since Kent State shut somebody out,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “That was huge for our defense to go out and reestablish themselves like that.”

Kent State’s defense was led by junior linebacker Cobrani Mixon, who recorded a team high 12 total tackles, and junior safety Brian Lainhart, who made an interception in the first half.

The Flashes scored first when senior defensive end Kevin Hogan recorded a tackle in the Chanticleers’ end zone for the team’s first safety since 2006. Kent State would get another safety in the fourth quarter when Coastal Carolina snapped a ball out of the end zone.

Offensively, the Flashes were unable to score until junior running back Andre Flowers carried the ball in on a five-yard run midway through the third quarter. The touchdown was set up by a 33-yard punt return by senior running back Eugene Jarvis.

In his first game returning punts since high school, Jarvis ran 77 yards on five returns and set up both touchdowns.

“We knew special teams would be big in this game,” Jarvis said. “Coach Martin and coach (Zane) Vance put an emphasis to put our best players out there this year, and a lot of people were buying into it.”

After suffering an apparent injury on a return early in the fourth quarter, Jarvis returned after one play to score on a four-yard run. Jarvis also rushed for 141 yards in the game.

“He’s a tough kid, he’s in great shape and you couldn’t have gotten him out of there tonight, anyway,” Martin said. “It’s our game, and we need those guys to get some work and get out there and finish one off like that.”

In his first start since 2007, sophomore quarterback Giorgio Morgan went 21-for- 35 for 201 yards but threw two interceptions and overthrew receivers on multiple plays. Morgan also limped for most of the game after getting sacked in the first quarter.

“There wasn’t any damage or anything as far as ligaments or anything like that. he just got his ankle rolled,” Martin said.

Martin said Morgan’s injury limited the offense to plays from the shotgun formation, and he would have played senior quarterback Anthony Magazu if he was completely healthy.

Freshman kicker Freddy Cortez had a 22-yard field-goal attempt blocked and retuned 59 yards before the end of the first half, but Coastal Carolina junior kicker Justin Durham missed the 43-yard attempt as the half ended.

Martin said it was a positive that the game wasn’t a blowout because the team can learn from their mistakes.

“Had we come out here and won 50-0, it wouldn’t have been very meaningful. Our players wouldn’t have taken a lot from that,” Martin said. “We can go back this week, and they’re going to listen because they’re going to know we got to get better if we’re going to play Boston College.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].