Kent State drops season’s last game to Buffalo

Joe Harrington

Kent State finished the season on a seven game losing streak after losing to Buffalo 30-23 in overtime yesterday at Dix Stadium.

In the only overtime game of the season, the Flashes failed to convert on fourth down and nine after allowing a touchdown on the first Buffalo possession. Buffalo senior linebacker Larry Hutchinson sacked Kent State sophomore quarterback Anthony Magazu to end the game. It was the fourth sack of the game in Magazu’s first career start.

Magazu played well in the loss, throwing for 184 yards on 12-22 passing and two touchdowns. Magazu, who had not played since Oct.13 against Ohio State after suffering an ankle injury, replaced sophomore quarterback Jon Brown after he struggled against Temple.

“Anthony Magazu was really special today,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “When we have our first or second team quarterback, we’re a pretty good offensive football team.”

Magazu led the offensive to an impressive day as the unit compiled 401 yards and three touchdowns.

But it was senior Tom Sitko and sophomore Eugene Jarvis who made the most of the final game of the season.

Jarvis ran a career high 34 times and finished with 183 yards rushing. The running back also did it through the air, catching three passes, including one for a touchdown, for a team high 68 yards. The 5-foot-5 running back lined-up everywhere except the offensive line, although he did have several good blocks in the game.

Taking a page out of Arkansas’ playbook, Jarvis had four plays at the quarterback position, only one of which resulted in positive yards. Jarvis finishes with a Kent State record 1,669 rushing yards this season.

“We got a real talented group coming back; we got a lot to build on,” Martin said. “We got one of the best running backs in the nation. We just got to reload.”

Sitko carried several Buffalo defensive players into the end zone early in the fourth quarter. The 18-yard pass gave the Flashes a 20-16 lead. Sitko finished with a team high five catches for 61 yards.

The defense allowed just 49 rushing yards and 384 total yards. Buffalo junior quarterback Drew Willy passed for 335 of those yards on 34-45 passing and two touchdowns.

Senior defensive lineman Colin Ferrell had four-and-a-half tackles for a loss and set the emotional pace for the defense.

Sitko said Ferrell’s performance inspired the rest of the team.

“The way he gives everything he’s got since he got here five years ago, and the rest of the seniors – we just bounce energy off each other,” Sitko said.

The game also featured many of the same negative plays that have hurt the team all season. Sophomore kicker Nate Reed, who tied Paul Marchese’s single season field goal record of 18 in a season, struggled in the game. He missed an extra point after Andre Flowers’ first career rushing touchdown and later had a 29-yard field goal blocked with 1:34 left in the game.

Buffalo scored the eventual game-winning touchdown when freshman Brandon Thermilus scored a 1-yard touchdown in overtime.

The Flashes finish the season at the bottom of the Mid-American Conference standings, but have the majority of the offense and defense returning next season.

“I think it’s the type of guys that are coming back,” Ferrell said. “When I first came in, there wasn’t a lot of guys that gave everything they had. The future is so bright here.”

Contact football reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].