Martin: The war started on Wednesday for KSU

Thomas Gallick

After thrilling mid-week game, Flashes have new hope

Eugene Jarvis runs the ball against Temple during Wednesday night’s game at Dix Stadium. Jarvis rushed for 201 yards and scored one touchdown against Temple. Kent State beat Temple 41-38. Rachel Kilroy | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Kent State football coach Doug Martin said he did not want to talk about the past after the Flashes’ 41-38 win over Temple on Wednesday night.

Martin was referring to his criticisms of his players after a 54-21 win over Miami on Oct. 25, when he questioned why it took them so long to get a Mid-American Conference win.

“We’re putting all that behind us,” Martin said Wednesday. “The thought that we had is, the war started (Wednesday). The war for Kent State football started (Wednesday) in our minds, and we’re going to change the mentality from within.”

In the wake of a mistake-laden loss at Iowa State earlier this season, Martin had said he would no longer go out of his way to stand up for his players to the press. After the win over Temple and the announcement a week ago that he would return next season, Martin seemed content to back away from public criticism of team members.

While meeting with the media in the wake of the athletic department’s Nov. 6 announcement to him, Martin made a telling statement when asked if his time at Kent State has forced him to become tougher on his players.

“I think you’ve got to be what you are,” Martin said. “If you try to do something else, it comes off as fake. But what I have changed this year is I’ve tried to prepare our players mentally.”

Martin said although he decided early this year not to “protect” his players from media scrutiny, he was also not “throwing them under the bus.”

The coach previously caused a bit of a stir by questioning junior kicker Nate Reed’s mental toughness after he missed two field goals against Akron and got pulled during the next game, against Ohio. Martin, however, mentioned Reed before any other individual when giving an opening statement about the win over Temple, saying he made some “big kicks” that put the team in the position to win.

Reed kicked five extra points and two field goals, including the game-winning 26-yarder with just over six minutes left in the game.

Wednesday’s game may represent a turning point for Martin, but it was the status quo for the Flashes’ offense and defense. The offense scored over 30 points for the third straight game, while the defense gave up more than 21 for the seventh straight game.

Senior quarterback Julian Edelman and junior running back Eugene Jarvis dominated Temple all night long, especially on the option in short-yardage situations. Edelman passed for 232 yards and rushed for 144 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, while Jarvis rushed for a season-high 185 yards.

Jarvis said he still does not feel perfectly healthy because of a lingering ankle injury, but he felt better than in previous weeks.

“I’m getting there,” Jarvis said. “I’m not 100 percent yet, but like I said, there’s three games left. You’ve got to leave it all out there on the field.”

The junior running back said it was hard to sit on the sidelines for three games after suffering his injury against Delaware State on Sept. 13.

“I could just be (the team’s) No. 1 cheerleader and try to help them out in games I missed,” Jarvis said. “I’m here now.”

Kent State’s receivers also made a big impact in Wednesday’s game, with season highs in receptions (18) and yards (232), one game after Martin said the team had not gotten “any good plays” from the unit this season.

“They handled adversity very well, and they caught the ball and made plays,” Edelman said. “Everyone went out there and did their job.”

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].