Flash in the pan

Thomas Gallick

Poor first half at BG spoils chances for second straight win

Junior wide receiver Derek McBryde lies in the end zone during the final seconds of Saturday’s 45-30 loss at Doyt L. Perry Stadium in Bowling Green. With seconds remaining, McBryde caught a Julian Edelman pass but was pushed out of the end zone by Falcons

Credit: DKS Editors

Sophomore safety Brian Lainhart intercepts Bowling Green quarterback Tyler Sheehan’s pass during the first half of Saturday’s game at Doyt L. Perry Stadium. The interception was Lainhart’s sixth of the season. Daniel R. Doherty | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

LISTEN to post-game audio on the BSR Web site.

The Kent State football team lost any chance of a second straight victory when it gave up 28 unanswered points in the first half to Bowling Green in its 45-30 loss at Doyt L. Perry Stadium on Saturday.

The Flashes (2-7, 1-4 Mid-American Conference) were shut out in the first half for the second time this season, with the first coming in their 21-0 loss to Boston College in the season opener.

Kent State coach Doug Martin said the team played well in the second half, but only after it put itself in a hole it had no chance at getting out of.

“Everybody will say, ‘Well, they came back in the second half,'” Martin said. “Yeah, they came back in the second half because there was no pressure on them. They’d already lost the football game.”

Senior quarterback Julian Edelman and Falcons’ junior quarterback Tyler Sheehan provided most of the offense for their teams.

Edelman rushed for 170 yards with two touchdowns and passed for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Edelman took part in every Kent State scoring play, all of which took place in the second half.

Edelman threw two interceptions in the first half, and he blamed those mistakes for the team getting behind early.

“Everyone looks at that 28 points and says, ‘Oh, the defense didn’t do anything,’ but the offense made two crucial errors,” Edelman said.

Game Notes:

&bull Pleasant and un-Pleasant surprises: The Flashes only had to return one punt, but the result was typical Kent State special teams. Freshman defensive back Josh Pleasant, who had an interception in the game, fumbled but recovered the ball on the first punt. On the Falcons’ only other punt, senior quarterback Julian Edelman was back to return, but the ball went into the end zone for a touchback.

&bull Mr. 2,000: With his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game, Edelman passed the career 2,000-yard rushing mark. Edelman finished the game with 2,064 career rushing yards and leads all Mid-American Conference quarterbacks with 951 rushing yards this season.

&bull From four to scoreless: Junior running back Eugene Jarvis tied a Kent State record with four rushing touchdowns last week at Miami, but he could not find the end zone this week. Jarvis rushed for 89 yards on 19 carries and caught a team-high six passes for 54 yards.

&bull Offensive Flash of the week: Edelman’s two picks were costly, but the senior was in on all of the Flashes’ touchdowns this week and averaged 7.4 yards per carry. Plus, it never hurts when your coach calls you the best football player in the conference after the game.

&bull Defensive Flash of the week: Sophomore safety Brian Lainhart joins Edelman for the second week in a row. Lainhart picked off Sheehan for his conference-leading sixth interception of the year and tied for the team lead in total tackles with 11.

Martin said Edelman would try to take the blame for both turnovers, but he said the first interception was caused by a missed block by a wide receiver.

Martin was especially critical of the wide receivers after the game and said they have “yet to give us any good play all year.”

He also said Edelman deserved credit for sparking the team’s 30-point effort in the second half.

“He is the best football player in the Mid-American Conference, and I’m not talking about the best quarterback,” Martin said. “There’s not a better one anywhere in the conference, and if all of our players had the same mentality that he has, (we would) be set.”

Sheehan rushed for a career-high 109 yards with one rushing touchdown, running for more yards against the Flashes’ defense than he previously had in his entire college football career. He also threw for 159 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception in each half.

Sophomore linebacker Cobrani Mixon disagreed with Edelman’s statement that the defense was not responsible for the first half performance.

“I think the defense didn’t play well at all (in) the first-half,” Mixon said. “They moved the ball on us, whether we had turnovers or not.”

The Falcons rushed for 261 yards against Kent State, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. The Flashes’ defense gave up only 147 yards on the ground last week in their 54-21 win over Miami.

Sophomore safety Brian Lainhart had one of the Flashes’ two interceptions, tying himself for the NCAA lead in interceptions with his sixth of the season.

The Flashes earned only three first downs in the first half on 129 yards of total offense, compared to the Falcons’ 15 first downs and 330 yards. Kent State outgained Bowling Green 478-462 in total yards by the end of the game – the fourth time this season the Flashes have compiled more offensive yards than an opponent and still lost.

Edelman said the Flashes did not go into the locker room down 28-0 because they came out without emotion in the first half.

“We didn’t come out necessarily flat, we just made stupid mistakes at crucial points,” he said.

Martin said he told his players they need to play more with the same effort every week if they expect to start a winning tradition at Kent State.

“It’s a shame because we’re a much better team than that,” Martin said. “It’s (about) breaking that Kent State mentality. Our players still don’t get it.”

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].