Flashes get swamped

Brock Harrington

KSU defense can’t contain Fenroy, Ragin’ Cajuns in loss

Junior Phil Garner sits dejected late in the fourth quarter during Saturday night’s game. Garner had only 20 yards on four catches in the game. Daniel R. Doherty | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

LAFAYETTE, La. – The Kent State football team traveled 1,159.94 miles – passing through the entire American South – looking to leave behind the turnovers and sloppy play that have plagued the team thus far.

But even traveling to the swampy city of Lafayette, La., to play Louisiana-Lafayette at Cajun Field on Saturday couldn’t stop the Flashes from losing 44-27.

The offense, which was one point shy of tying a season-high for points, turned the ball over just once, but the defense had arguably its worst game in nearly three years.

The defense allowed 667 yards of total offense to Lafayette, a new school record for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Senior running back Tyrell Fenroy, who entered the game as the nation’s second active leading rusher with 3,347 career yards, became his school’s all-time leader in total yards gained. Fenroy had 196 rushing yards and 65 yards of receiving.

“We had a hard time running them down,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “The better team beat us tonight. We (have) to tip our hats to them and move on.”

Along with Fenroy, Lafayette senior quarterback Michael Desormeaux passed for 253 yards and one touchdown, and he added 150 yards and a touchdown rushing. Desormeaux threw a 55-yard touchdown in the third quarter to freshman tight end Ladarius Green, which put the Cajuns up 30-21 and would be yet another long, broken play the defense allowed.

Game notes:

• An arm and two legs

Senior quarterback Julian Edelman continued to show his recovery from the knee injury that plagued him last season. Edelman led the team in rushing for the second straight game with 136 yards. His two rushing touchdowns gave him three on the season, one more than he had all of last season.

• More on rushing defense woes

The 414 yards of rushing that the Flashes’ defense gave up Saturday was their most since they gave up 424 to Bowling Green on Oct. 23, 1998. The Falcons won that game 42-21.

• Not that it helped much …

Freshman punter Matt Rinehart landed three punts inside Louisiana-Lafayette’s 20-yard line, setting a personal single-game high.

“They outplayed us,” senior linebacker Derek Burrell said. “We weren’t sound like we should have been, including myself, so we got to take it on the chin and get it.”

The play of the defense, which hadn’t allowed more than 374 total yards in a game this season, overshadowed the play of the offense, which protected the ball better than it had all year on a rainy and extremely wet day. The only turnover came when senior quarterback Julian Edelman missed a receiver and threw an interception.

Edelman passed for 81 of the team’s 169 yards, but his feet were what kept the offense moving. He rushed for 136 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns while junior running back Eugene Jarvis, the team’s leading rusher, sat out the game with an ankle injury. Edelman, who has had issues with fumbling the ball, had no fumbles in a game for the first time this season.

“We went out there and fought – we just didn’t make big plays when we needed to,” Edelman said. “We didn’t make big plays, (and the first team offense) still put up 21 points. We didn’t do anything extraordinary. We had one turnover (where) I didn’t see the guy. Other than that we had a good plan – we just didn’t make a big play when we needed to.”

The offense also was without senior tight end Jameson Konz for the third straight week. While the Flashes managed to avoid more ankle injuries in this game, they did suffer some blows. Senior wide receiver Shawn Bayes, the team leader in receptions, and Edelman both missed time because of cramps.

Martin went away from his preseason plan of giving the second-string quarterback playing time on the third series of each half, but junior quarterback Anthony Magazu made the most of the fourth quarter while Edelman was out.

Magazu was only 2-of-7, but he also provided the longest play of the season with an 81-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Alan Vanderink for the final score of the game.

Along with two long touchdown passes, the other being a 42-yard touchdown pass from Edelman to Bayes, the running game was also consistent. Sophomore Andre Flowers rushed for 69 yards on 14 carries.

The Flashes capitalized on early turnovers after senior Cedrick Maxwell recovered a fumble in the first quarter, but the momentum shifted when Fenroy caught a swing pass and ran 65 yards to the Flashes’ 5-yard line, with senior cornerback Rico Murray running him down to prevent a touchdown.

The Flashes will travel to Ball State this weekend. The Cardinals beat Indiana of the Big Ten 42-20 Saturday, and Martin said his defense needs to bounce back quickly for the Mid-American Conference opener.

“Now we’re starting our real season, which is the Mid-American Conference,” Martin said. “We’re getting ready to go play probably one of the best quarterbacks in the country (Ball State junior Nate Davis) and one of the more dangerous offenses in the country, so our defense is going to rebound.”

Contact sports editor Brock Harrington at [email protected].