Cleveland Browns Stadium becomes unwelcome home

Thomas Gallick

Flashes struggle to move the ball as BC shuts out offense in the 2008 opener

Flashes’ sophomore linebacker Cobrani Mixon tackles Boston College’s freshman running back Josh Haden in the second half of the Golden Flashes’ 21-0 loss to the Eagles Saturday night in the FirstMerit Patriot Bowl in Cleveland.

Daniel Owen | Daily Ke

Credit: DKS Editors

WATCH video of the a press conference with Coach Dough Martin.

The Kent State football team was in Cleveland to play Boston College Saturday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium, even if a casual glance at the scoreboard could not prove it.

The Flashes lost 21-0 to the Eagles and now have less than a week to prepare for Saturday’s game with Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. The game will be a rematch of the Flashes’ biggest win last year, a 23-14 victory over the Cyclones in Jack Trice Stadium.

Senior quarterback Julian Edelman said the Flashes have great room for improvement against Iowa State.

“(It was) kind of embarrassing not to get any points on the board (and) not to help the defense out,” Edelman said. “Our defense went out there and played a great game.”

Despite the disappointing result on the scoreboard, Kent State coach Doug Martin said he was proud of the effort his team’s offense put up against an elite defense.

“We played a really good football team (Saturday),” Martin said. “Boston College’s defense is definitely as good as advertised. I think they’re probably a little bit bigger and stronger than they even look like on film.”

Martin said he still has a lot of unanswered questions about the exact strength of the offense after playing Boston College.

“I don’t know what we are offensively,” Martin said. “I know we can run the football because of our personnel, but I don’t know if we’ve improved in the other areas.”

Martin said he could not tell the strength of the wide receivers from watching the game Saturday.

“I think the jury is still out on our wide receivers, (on) how good we’re going to be,” Martin said. “We still had a couple of dropped passes that we shouldn’t have had. We had them open quite a bit and just couldn’t get the ball to them.”

Martin said the offensive line needs to beef up its pass protection before he can get a good read on the Flashes’ passing game.

One more question for the offense is whether it can convert long drives into points. Edelman said the offense needs to capitalize on scoring chances if the team expects to beat Iowa State. Mark Herzlich, Boston College junior linebacker, intercepted Edelman at the Boston College 4-yard line to end the Flashes’ one trip to the red zone Saturday.

“We’ve got to finish drives,” Edelman said. “We had a 14-play drive. We’ve got to get in the red zone more, (and) we’ve got to score in the red zone.”

The Eagles bottled up Kent State’s running game, holding the Flashes to 126 yards. Junior running back Eugene Jarvis averaged 4.3 yards per carry but only compiled 51 yards.

Boston College unleashed a strong ground game against Kent State, with four players averaging more than 4.5 yards per carry. Junior running back Jeff Smith led the attack for the Eagles with 74 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown run.

While the defense only allowed 21 points, it still is unclear whether the team can step up and stop the run in key situations. Senior linebacker Derek Burrell said the defense needs to defend the run better.

“We gave up 230 yards rushing – that’s way too many,” said Burrell, who led the Flashes with 14 tackles. “For any defense, that’s way too many yards. Going into this week of practice, that’s what we’re concentrating on.”

Martin said he will have a better sense of the team’s strengths and weaknesses after Saturday’s game at Iowa State because it will be more representative of the team’s true ability.

Edelman said the team understands it will have a target on its back after stunning the Cyclones last year.

“Last year I guarantee they overlooked us,” Edelman said. “This year, they’re prepared for us. They’re obviously going to turn up the heat.”

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].