Flashes fall to Cyclones

Nick Walton

On the opening kickoff against Iowa State, the Kent State football team committed two penalties allowing the Cyclones to start at the Flashes’ 38-yardline.

The miscues didn’t stop there.

“Obviously your first kickoff is going to set the tone for the game,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said.

The Flashes continued to make mistakes throughout the game in a 34-14 loss to Iowa State. Kent State fumbled five times – losing four – threw an interception and committed eight penalties for 69 yards. Iowa State was little better, turning the ball over four times and racking up 85 yards of penalties.

“I told our team that turnover margin would decide this game and of course it did,” Martin said. “(Iowa State) tried everything they could to help keep us in the game. We just didn’t take advantage of it.”

The Flashes took a 7-3 lead early in the first quarter when freshman quarterback Spencer Keith completed a 44-yard touchdown pass to freshman running back Dri Archer.

In his first collegiate start, Keith completed 21-of-32 passes with two touchdowns and an interception.

Martin said Keith had a good presence in the offense and played well when the Flashes fell behind.

“It would have been very easy for him to start pressing and try to make plays,” Martin said. “He missed a couple of reads . like all freshman quarterbacks are going to do, but he made some plays.”

The offense was unable to maintain consistent drives because of turnovers and a 1-for-12 third down rate.

“The third-down conversions are a product of us having an inability to run the football right now,” Martin said. “When you’re looking at 3rd-and-20 and 3rd-and-15, then you’re not going to be very good on third down. That is really disturbing right now that we weren’t able to run the ball better than we did tonight.”

The offense had two opportunities in the fourth quarter to cut into Iowa State’s lead, but freshman kicker Freddy Cortez missed a 21-yard field goal attempt, and the Flashes fumbled a snap at the Cyclones’ 18-yardline to end the drives.

“That game should’ve been 34-28 with us onside kicking to go win the football game,” Martin said. “That’s what I told the team afterwards. We had two chances down there in the red zone. All we’ve got to do is knock it in.”

In the first game without senior running back Eugene Jarvis, the Flashes rushed for 47 yards. Junior running back Andre Flowers had 45 yards on 21 carries in place of Jarvis.

f the season because of a kidney injury, talked to the team prior to the game, but junior safety Brian Lainhart said the team didn’t get caught up with the injury during the game.

“He said something to the team before the game, and I thought everybody really took it well, and I thought we were going to come out there on fire,” Lainhart said. “It (was) hard to see him after the game the way we played. That’s a game we should’ve won and we got to start winning games we’re supposed to win.”

Lainhart recorded his third interception of the season and forced two fumbles to go along with his team-high 11 tackles.

Iowa State rushed for 234 yards and three touchdowns against Kent State’s defense. Cyclones junior quarterback Austen Arnaud completed 13-of-21 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.

Martin said the defense played better in the second half, but reflected a problem of the team.

“That’s kind of the Kent State deal: Once it’s decided, our kids loosen up and decide they want to play and they better start playing the first half,” Martin said. “That’s something that’s going to have to come from within, you can’t coach that. They’ve either got to bow up and start playing like they’re capable of, or it’s going to be a long year.”

Jarvis’ absence was also felt on special teams as Kent State lost two fumbles on punt returns after stopping Iowa State on offense.

“We had (junior running back) Alan Vanderink back there, and he did well in practice and then can’t catch it in the game,” Martin said. “We put (junior wide receiver) Leneric (Muldrow) back there, and he settled it, but that’s after the fact.”

Martin said the team is good enough to win but has to execute on the field.

“I’ve heard about every excuse known to man around here, and it’s just not good enough,” Martin said. “I’ve already said it, this team is good enough to win, and they got to win. Period. There is no moral victories out here anymore for us.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected]