Special teams blunders cost Flashes in double OT loss to Akron

Thomas Gallick

Video by Ken Brown, Randy Ziemnik, Dan Scotchmer, Drew Biada and Eddie Kilroy | TV2 News

Kent State coach Doug Martin said the team played well in every aspect of the game besides special teams, but the mistakes ended up costing the Flashes the game.

“Statistically we dominated this football game in every phase, but we did last year too,” Martin said. “We just didn’t get the win. That is what it is.”

In the fourth quarter, senior wide receiver Phil Garner fumbled the ball on two punts, losing it on the second. Akron recovered Garner’s fumble on the Kent State 42-yard line and went on a scoring drive that put the Zips ahead late.

Akron junior quarterback Chris Jacquemain drove the Zips down the field after the fumble recovery and capped off the drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Deryn Bowser with 1:28 left. The officials originally ruled the play an incomplete pass, but Akron challenged the play and won.

Senior quarterback Julian Edelman led both teams in rushing with 113 yards, including a mad dash for 34 yards on fourth down with nine yards to go to put the Flashes in field goal range at the end of the fourth quarter.

Edelman also passed for 157 yards in the game with two touchdowns, including one to freshman tight end Justin Thompson to open the scoring for Kent State.

Edelman said the offense was effective during the game because of the Kent State coaches’ game plan, adding that responsibility for the loss ultimately falls on the players.

“It’s like all the other games,” Edelman said. “We just didn’t make plays when we needed to. We made more plays than Akron – they just made them when they needed to.”

The Flashes outgained the Zips 413-301 in total offense, marking the second game this season the Flashes had more offensive yards than an opponent but still lost. Kent State outgained Iowa State 410-374 on Sept. 6 but lost 48-28, in another game where the Flashes looked inadequate on special teams.

Edelman found a new weapon on offense in freshman wide receiver Kendrick Pressley. A late freshman sign, who joined the team midway through two-a-days, Pressley caught eight passes in his first game as a Flash, a season high among receivers at Kent State.

Edelman said Pressley will keep improving and will have a bright future at Kent State.

“(Pressley) came in and learned the offense within three days,” Edelman said. “The kid’s going to be great.”

Kent State’s defense, which had given up more than 400 yards and 40 points in the team’s previous two losses, held tight against the Zips, especially late in the game. The Zips’ only touchdown after the third quarter came on the drive that started after Garner’s fumbled punt return.

Sophomore safety Brian Lainhart had three interceptions for the Flashes, the first time a Kent State player picked off three passes in a game since Andy Logan had three against Bowling Green in 1988.

Lainhart said having three interceptions and playing a solid game was no consolation after the loss.

“I could care less if I had one tackle and we won,” Lainhart said. “I would be a lot happier.”

Akron junior quarterback Chris Jacquemain threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns despite the three first-half interceptions to Lainhart.

The Flashes will return to action looking to break an eight-game MAC losing streak next week against Ohio at Dix Stadium. The Flashes’ last conference win was on Sept. 29, 2007, at Ohio.

“We can’t just fold it in and let this season be like the history of this program,” Edelman said. “We’ve got to go out there and win some games, and we’re going to. We’re going to win some games.”

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].

Game notes:

• All shook up

Freshman wide receiver Kendrick Pressley left the building Saturday with eight receptions for an average of 4.3 yards in his debut as a Flash, a season high for a Kent State receiver in a game. Senior wide receiver Shawn Bayes and junior wide receiver Phil Garner held the old season mark for receivers with four receptions in a game.

• Reed’ers digest

Junior kicker Nate Reed missed both of his field goals from within 30 yards (27, 23), but he made both of his field goals from over 30 yards (32, 34). Reed also averaged 50 yards per kickoff.

• Where’s Eugene?

No, not in Oregon. Junior running back Eugene Jarvis was on the sidelines for the Flashes for the third straight game with an ankle injury. Filling in for Jarvis, sophomore running back Andre Flowers ran for 85 yards on 24 carries, and freshman running back Jacquise “Speedy” Terry ran for 60 yards on 10 carries.