Flashes show improvement in scrimmage

Doug Gulasy

Martin pleased with progress

After the Kent State football team struggled in its first scrimmage of the spring season, coach Doug Martin predicted the Flashes would have a better showing in their second scrimmage.

Saturday, Kent State lived up to its coach’s expectations, showing much improvement on offense in a 60-minute scrimmage at Dix Stadium.




Completions: 6

Attempts: 12

Yards: 57

Touchdowns: 0

Interceptions: 0




Completions: 4

Attempts: 11

Yards: 31

Touchdowns: 0

Interceptions: 1


Each quarterback had more time to throw in the second scrimmage, and it paid off with better passing results. Magazu looked impressive early, but Morgan answered with a 45-yard touchdown pass.

“I was really pleased with the progress we made,” Martin said. “We had a tremendous amount of (fewer) penalties than we had in the first scrimmage, so that was encouraging.

“(Also), our wide receivers stepped up and made a couple big plays for touchdowns, so that’s what we need to see from them. So all that was really good.”

Kent State’s offense had the most problems in the first scrimmage, giving up seven sacks and committing more than a dozen penalties. In Saturday’s scrimmage, however, the Flashes gave up two fewer sacks and were whistled for just three penalties.

Martin said the offensive improvement was most noticeable in the passing game. In the first scrimmage, quarterbacks Giorgio Morgan and Anthony Magazu were under constant pressure from the defense and had difficulty completing passes.

Morgan and Magazu, who are competing for the starting quarterback job, had more time to throw in Saturday’s scrimmage. Morgan completed six of 12 passes for 70 yards and a touchdown, while Magazu went 9-of-15 for 93 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“I liked the way that both of them played,” said Martin, who classified the quarterback competition “dead even” at this point. “They’re not making mistakes. They’re creating big plays. I feel really comfortable we could win with both of these guys.”

Magazu came out strong early, completing six of his first seven passes for 88 yards. He capped it off by hitting senior Derek McBryde down the left sideline for a 22-yard touchdown pass.

“That’s just Derek making a play,” said Magazu, a senior. “It’s a simple fade route. I’m just ‘1-2-3, let the ball go.’ He went up and made a play; I’ve just got to put it in a position where he can make a play and not the defender.”

Minutes later, Morgan answered Magazu’s touchdown pass with one of his own. The redshirt sophomore hit wide receiver Sam Kirkland on a quick slant over the middle that turned into a 45-yard touchdown even quicker.

“The pass to Sam on the touchdown was a real good play by him,” Morgan said. ” … When you know what you’re doing, great things are going to happen.”

While the passing game showed improvement Saturday, Martin said he was disappointed with the running game. The first-team defense stifled senior running back Eugene Jarvis, who gained just 18 yards on 10 carries.

“(The offensive line is) still not run-blocking as well as what we’re accustomed to here,” Martin said. “Their pass protection is light-years better than it has been over the last couple years, but we’ve got to be able to run the football.

Morgan and Magazu both said the Flashes must also do a better job at eliminating turnovers. Kent State didn’t commit any turnovers in the first half of Saturday’s scrimmage, but the Flashes turned it over three times in the second half.

“Turnovers in the second half can kill you,” Magazu said. “And that’s how it’s been since I’ve been here. That’s one thing that we still need to change.”

The Flashes will hold their third and final spring scrimmage this Friday at Dix Stadium. The annual Blue & Gold game will begin at 6 p.m., and the scrimmage is free and open to the public.

Contact sports editor Doug Gulasy at [email protected].