Another loss, another QB injured

Joe Harrington

Running back Eugene Jarvis sets season rushing record, while

WATCH a photo gallery of the game.

Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis ran for 174 yards on 20 carries in Saturday’s 27-20 loss to Northern Illinois at Huskie Stadium in Dekalb, Ill.

The sophomore, who has been the key to the Flashes’ offense all year, had his eighth 100-yard rushing day. He moved to eighth on the all-time Kent State rushing list, with 2,227 yards in just two seasons. He also set the single season rushing record with 1,429 yards on the season, breaking Eric Wilkerson’s record of 1,325 yards in 1989.

But in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game, Jarvis had just five rushing attempts for 25 yards. The Flashes, down by 10 points throughout the quarter, passed 21 times in the final 15 minutes for 97 yards.

Under normal circumstances, this would be a sound approach to win the game. But the normal circumstances left the game in the second quarter, when freshman quarterback Giorgio Morgan tore his medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

Sophomore quarterback Jon Brown finished the game for the Flashes.

Despite being buried on the depth chart for most of the season, Brown, who started a game in 2005 and red shirted in 2006, was prepared to step in for Morgan.

“Jon’s forte is throwing the ball, so we adjusted for that,” Martin said. “He played well today — some mistakes but he gave us a chance. I have a lot of confidence in him.”

Brown kept the Flashes in the game, but the offense was unable to execute the trademark quarterback rushes they use out of the spread.

Those types of plays had allowed junior quarterback Julian Edelman to rush for 658 yards, before a broken arm ended his season, and Morgan to score the first touchdown of Saturday’s game. Morgan had a 10-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter to give the Flashes an early 7-0 advantage.

With less than 90 seconds remaining in the game, Brown forced a pass across the middle of the field that resulted in his only turnover of the game, and sealed the victory for the Huskies. Brown’s pass was intercepted by sophomore linebacker John Tranchitella at the Huskies’ 10-yardline.

“NIU came after it today, they’re tough guys,” Brown said. “We had a good game plan and I was prepared for what I saw from the NIU defense. We played well, we just had too many mistakes that ended drives.”

Brown will most likely start the Temple game this weekend, as Morgan’s season may be over and sophomore Anthony Magazu is still recovering from an ankle injury he suffered during the Ohio State game Oct.13.

Hopefully, for the Flashes’ sake, the defense will recover in time for the Temple game. The defense, which was once considered one of the strongest aspects of the team, allowed more than 500 yards of offense for the second game in a row.

The defense gave up 510 yards of total offense to the Huskies, of those yards, 235 were rushing yards. Northern Illinois sophomore running backs David Bryant and Justin Anderson battered the defense to gain more than 100 yards rushing each. Bryant finished with a team high 110 yards rushing, while Anderson — who was over 100 yards in the first half — finished with 98 yards and one touchdown.

In the last three games the Flashes have played, the defense has allowed 1,471 yards of offense and 99 points.

“When you give up 500 yards in a game, there is definitely a problem,” senior defensive lineman Colin Ferrell said. “We are a young defense, but as a senior, you have to keep everyone together and working as a whole.”

The defense was off to a phenomenal start Saturday; causing two turnovers on the first two Huskie offensive drives. Cedrick Maxwell caused Anderson to fumble on the first drive and senior Jack Williams recovered the ball.

On the very next Northern Illinois drive, Williams had the second turnover of the game, after he intercepted Northern Illinois sophomore quarterback Dan Nicholson. Williams returned the ball 47-yards, to the Huskies’ 28 yard line to set up the Morgan touchdown run.

In the second quarter, Williams suffered a shoulder injury and had to leave the game. Besides junior linebacker Stevon Moss’s interception moments later, the defense struggled to stop any drives the rest of the games.

The Huskies punted just twice in the game, both in the second half. But Ferrell was not blaming the injuries as the problem. Ferrell said the young players have played enough this season to be prepared for any injuries.

The loss guarantees the third losing season of Martin’s four-year tenure at Kent State. Martin, who replaced current New England Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Peas in 2004, said he hopes the program can equal the success that Northern Illinois has been able to establish under 12th year coach Joe Novak. Novak has lead the Huskies to the post season each of the last three seasons.

“I have a lot of respect for Joe (Novak), I want our program to be a mirror image of NIU,” Martin said. “The team we played (Saturday night) came in with one win, but they played like a 10 win team.”



-Making his first start of the season, freshman defensive back Will Johnson had 10 tackles against the Huskies. He wasn’t the only freshman to make the highlight reels. Giorgio Morgan scored his first rushing touchdown, before coming out of the game, and wide receiver Alan Vanderink caught his first touchdown pass of the season.

The Eugene Jarvis dedication note

-The Pittsburgh native is just four yards away from passing Don Fitzgerald for seventh all-time on the rushing list. Jarvis’ eight, 100-yard rushing games are tied with Fitzgerald and Eric Wilkerson. Wilkerson accomplished the feat in 1988, while Fitzgerald did it in 1966. Jarvis has two more games to put the single season rushing record out of reach and to continue to climb to the top of the all-time rushing list, held by Astron Whatley, who ran for 3,989 yards.

Aches and Pains

-Senior Jack Williams is listed as day-to-day after suffering a mild shoulder separation Saturday. Williams, now tied for third on Kent State all-time interception is also the leading tackler with 87 this season.

-Giorgio Morgan, who had been red-shirting until he started the Central Michigan game, will not play the rest of the season. Martin indicated the quarterback could be ready for spring camp and compete for the starting quarterback job.

-Senior safety Fritz Jacques played in his first game since tearing his ACL Sept. 29 against Ohio State. Jacques had four tackles, including one for a loss, while wearing a knee brace.

Bring back the red shirt

-Kent State coach Doug Martin said the team will appeal to the NCAA about the status of quarterback Giorgio Morgan. The freshman was on pace to red shirt this season, until injuries forced him into the line-up. Because Morgan will miss the remainder of the season and only played five and a half quarters, Martin believes Morgan has a possibility at regaining his red shirt status for this season.

Contact Football reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].