Edelman, fellow seniors look for win in final home game

Thomas Gallick

Flashes play NIU tomorrow

Senior quarterback Julian Edelman breaks through the Temple line during last Wednesday’s game at Dix Stadium. The Flashes will play their final home game this season at 7 p.m. tomorrow against Northern Illinois at Dix Stadium. Daniel R. Doherty | Daily Ke

Credit: DKS Editors

With a win tomorrow night against Northern Illinois at Dix Stadium, the Kent State football team can both eclipse last season’s win total and send the team’s 13 seniors out with a win.

The Flashes (3-7, 2-4 Mid-American Conference) will have their last chance at consecutive wins on the season against the Huskies, after they beat Temple in a 41-38 thriller Wednesday.

“Going out on a good note would be ideal,” senior quarterback Julian Edelman said. “People may say these wins are meaningless, but to a program like ours, (they) can be crucial to the direction we want to go.”

Edelman, who will be honored along with the team’s 12 other seniors before the game, will try to extend his streak of 100-yard rushing games to six. Against Temple, Edelman joined former Flashes quarterback Joshua Cribbs as the second player in school history to record more than 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 passing yards in a single season.

Kent State coach Doug Martin said Edelman has been playing his best football since he arrived at Kent State prior to the 2006 season.

“He’s been phenomenal,” Martin said. “One of the guys from ESPN 360 (which broadcast Wednesday’s game), called me. They just wanted us to tell him they’d never seen a more heroic effort than the one he gave the other night. He’s been like that all year long.”

The Game: Kent State (3-7, 2-4 Mid-American Conference) vs. Northern Illinois (5-5, 4-3)

Where: Dix Stadium

When: 7 p.m. tomorrow

Radio: WNIR 100.1 FM, www.blacksquirrelradio.com

Martin pointed to Edelman and senior wide receiver Shawn Bayes as the two seniors who most exemplify the consistent effort he wants from all of his players.

“The thing I wish our players would realize about (Edelman) and emulate is (that) he’s the same every week,” Martin said.

Edelman said although he’s had a great statistical year, he has not been happy with the team’s record so far this season and wants to finish the year on a winning streak.

“Of course we’re disappointed, but we still have a job to do,” Edelman said. “We’ve got to go out there and do what it takes to win these last games.”

The Flashes’ MAC-leading rushing offense (232 yards per game) will challenge the Huskies MAC-leading rushing defense. The Huskies give up 130.5 rushing yards per game and also lead the conference in overall defense.

Martin said the Flashes face a tough challenge in Northern Illinois, who he said is the best defensive team in the conference.

“We’ve got a really tough game coming up (with) another great defensive team,” Martin said. “Temple was No. 2 in most defensive categories, and Northern Illinois is No. 1 in just about every defensive category. They play great team defense; they really play hard.”

The Flashes have counted on Edelman to play the role of offensive spark plug this season. He leads all MAC quarterbacks in rushing yards per game (109.5) and points per game (eight).

Martin said he wants to see the fans come out to support all of the seniors, but especially Edelman.

“I really hope people come out and see him play his last home game,” Martin said. “You get to see the best football player in the MAC. I don’t care what anybody says.”

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].