Flashes look to go 2-0

Nick Walton

Sophomore quarterback Giorgio Morgan attempts a pass during Thursday’s game against Coastal Carolina. Morgan made his first start in two years against the Chanticleers, completing 21 of 35 passes for 201 yards. Rachel Kilroy | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Kent State will have its fifth opportunity since the beginning of the 1988 season to start 2-0 Saturday at Boston College.

“To start out 2-0 would turn this program around tremendously just to show it’s a different Kent State team,” sophomore quarterback Giorgio Morgan said. “That would be a real good confidence boost if we get out to a 2-0 start.”

Kent State coach Doug Martin said beating the Eagles would be a stepping stone for the program, but the focus is on playing well.

“The more important issue for us is to continue to get better and get prepared for when Miami comes in here in our first conference game,” Martin said.

After recording its first shutout since 1994 last Thursday against Coastal Carolina, the Kent State football team will next try to accomplish a feat the team hasn’t accomplished in 21 years: starting 2-0.

After making his first start in two years against Coastal Carolina, Morgan is recovering after hurting his ankle in the first quarter of the game. Morgan completed 21 of 35 passes for 201 yards, but threw two interceptions while playing injured. With senior quarterback Anthony Magazu sidelined with an arm injury, Morgan remained in the game.

“I could have sat out and we could have tried putting Magazu in, but knowing that he’s not 100 percent, we don’t really want to rely on that,” Morgan said. “You see it all the time on ESPN when they show other teams. Their quarterbacks don’t come out when he has a sprained ankle. That’s your leader.”

Martin said Morgan will be ready to play Saturday, but he noted that freshman quarterback Spencer Keith may get to make his collegiate debut.

“Anthony just hasn’t progressed to the point where he can go out and make all of the throws that we would need as far as the arm strength,” Martin said. “If something happened to Giorgio in this game, we’d put Spencer out there and go play.”

Despite Boston College losing key defensive players, Martin said the Eagles’ defense has reloaded, which will make it tough to move the ball on the ground.

“They make you move the ball down the field in bits and pieces,” Martin said. “They’re not going to give you a huge play, and that’s why they’re so hard to score on – it’s hard to go on a 14-play drive without making a mistake.”

Martin stressed the importance of pass protection and throwing the ball because it will be hard to win the ground game. In last season’s 21-0 win over Kent State, the Eagles held senior running back Eugene Jarvis to 51 yards rushing. Against Coastal Carolina, Jarvis rushed for 146 yards, along with 77 return yards, that set up the Flashes’ two touchdowns.

In a dominating 54-0 win over Northeastern, Boston College rotated quarterbacks and showed a commitment to running the ball.

“This is going to be a tremendous test for our defense,” Martin said. “Traditionally, these are the type of offenses that we’ve struggled a little bit against, so it will be interesting to see how we have improved.”

Martin said there is comfort in playing against Boston College because Kent State played the Eagles last season and is familiar with their style of play.

“We played well with them last year, especially on the defensive side,” Martin said. “I think our guys can take a little confidence out of that.”

While last season’s game was played at Cleveland Browns Stadium, this year Kent State will play in Boston College’s Alumni Stadium. Morgan said he embraces the challenge of playing on the Eagles’ home field.

“When you’re in atmospheres like that, it just takes you on another level,” Morgan said. “I believe it makes you, play a lot better because you got all eyes on you and you got people looking at you, but we’re going to approach it the same way.”

Contact sports reporter Nick Walton at [email protected].

Listen to what Kent State students Greg Shultz, Jonathan Jankowski and Curtis Rupeka have to say about the football team.