Martin: Miami thinking big home win

Thomas Gallick

Coach challenges players before facing RedHawks

The Flashes kick-off during the Homecoming game against Ohio. The Flashes will be traveling to Miami this weekend. The team’s current record is 1-6, with five more MAC games left in the season. Leslie Cusano | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Kent State football coach Doug Martin held up a Kent State football helmet at the end of Wednesday’s practice.

“What do you think Miami will think when they see this?” Martin asked.

“A Homecoming win.”

Martin’s point was clear.

The other Mid-American Conference teams look at the Golden Flash logo and see an easy win this season.

The Flashes have lost their last nine MAC games, including three this season. Kent State has not beaten a Football Bowl Subdivision team in over a year.

Senior linebacker Derek Burrell said the team is tired of getting no respect.

“We’ve got to get our pride back,” Burrell said. “Everybody’s laughing at us, and it’s not a good feeling.”

The Flashes have not been blown out in the MAC during the last nine games by any means, losing by an average of just over nine points per game during the streak.

Kent State lost its last two games, home losses to Akron and Ohio, by three and seven points.

Martin said the team needs to start taking responsibility for its mistakes before it can go on a run in the conference, like Miami’s football team has done the last two seasons.

“They (Miami) go and answer their critics,” Martin said. “I don’t know what our players are going to do, but I put it right in their face yesterday. We’re going to find out Saturday.”

Martin referred to the RedHawks 2007 football season when the team won the MAC East despite losing three of its first four games, as well as this season’s team.

The RedHawks lost five of their first six games this season before last week’s 27-20 win over Bowling Green.

Martin said the team needs to show the confidence the RedHawks have shown in the past two seasons to get back into the conference race.

The Flashes lost 20-13 at Dix Stadium to Miami last season despite senior quarterback Julian Edelman passing for 260 yards.

Senior defensive back Rico Murray said the players need to step up and play better in pressure situations.

“Really, when it comes down to it, it’s the players on the field playing,” Murray said. “I feel that everybody needs to dig down deep inside and step up to the plate.”

Murray said the upperclassmen on the team need to show the younger players how to deal with adversity.

“I think the best way to (improve the team’s mood) is just come out and lead by example,” Murray said. “Once they see the upperclassmen start to give in, they start to give in. Really this is the time for the upperclassmen to show what they’re really about.”

Burrell said Martin and the coaching staff tried hard to get the best out of every player on the team during practice in the bye week.

“We’re anxious to play,” Burrell said. “Coach Martin’s been extra tough on us, so we’re anxious to take it out on another team.”

“The MAC East is still kind of wide open,” Burrell said. “Miami went on a streak at the end of the year (after) they started out 1-3 (and won the MAC East). It can be done, so everybody’s got to believe that it still can be done.”

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].