Another sloppy Saturday

Joe Harrington

Flashes marred by same weekly problems in loss

Kent State had 463 yards of offense against Miami on Saturday at Dix Stadium and lost the game 20-13. They had 375 yards against Akron Sept. 22 and lost the game 27-20. The Flashes gained 453 yards of offense against Kentucky Sept. 8 and lost 56-20.

In all of those games — except 0Kentucky — Kent State outgained its opponent and had nearly 100 more rushing yards. In all those games, Kent State came away empty-handed.

But for people who have followed the 2007 Golden Flashes, these offensive statistics are meaningless when the team has 22 penalties for 221 yards in those losses. That’s not even counting the 12 penalties for 110 yards in the 33-25 win against Ohio last week. The offensive stats become more insignificant when the team is second in the Mid-American Conference in turnovers with 18.

“It’s frustrating,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “When you’re playing as well as we are playing, It’s really frustrating, because we really feel like if we don’t beat ourselves, we can score a lot of points on anybody we play.”

The biggest turnovers against the RedHawks may have came in the form of two interceptions thrown by junior quarterback Julian Edelman. Despite the turnovers, Edelman played one of his best games of the season throwing for 260 yards and running for 93 more. He also had a career high 19 pass completions, but it was the two passes that got away from him that cost his team.

Edelman admitted that the two throws were mistakes and that he has had enough snaps in the season to avoid making them. One interception came when Edelman threw the ball away instead of taking a sack, which would have been the sixth of the game and the most allowed by the offensive line all season.

Eugene Jarvis’s second quarter fumble was the third turnover for the Flashes. The play was reviewed, but showed that the sophomore back had lost possession before he hit the ground. Jarvis entered the game as the nation’s leading rusher with 769 yards, but only ran for 84 yards against the RedHawks, making him third in the country with 851 yards, 125 yards behind Michigan’s Mike Hart. Jarvis had Kent State’s only touchdown, a rare redzone score for an offense that has struggled all year inside the 20-yard line.

“We had good opportunities,” Edelman said. “We need to make a play in the redzone. We can’t get away with all those field goals.”

The defense played well, as they have all season long. They recovered two fumbles, which the offense failed to capitalize on, and allowed just 101 yards of rushing on 36 carries. The defense put pressure on both Miami quarterbacks — senior Mike Kokal, who left the game with a knee injury, and sophomore Daniel Raudabaugh— on their way to recording four sacks on the day.

The number one rushing defense in the MAC still struggled with play action passes and are now starting to develop some bad habits.

“Our defense has a trend of coming out after halftime and letting the other team go right down the field and score,” Martin said.

The Flashes allowed Miami to go 71 yards on the first drive of the second half, capped off by an 11-yard touchdown pass by Raudabaugh to give Miami the lead at 17-10.

With their second loss in the East Division, Kent State’s division title hopes may no longer be in their control. In order for the Flashes to have a chance at the title, they must beat Bowling Green at home in two weeks and have Miami and Akron lose to a divisional team.

“Can we win the MAC East championship? Absolutely, that could happen,” Martin said. “But what we really want to see from this football team is (to) be a better (team) than we were last year.”

Martin said that there are 18 starters returning to the team next year and developing the young players are crucial to the success of the program, but Edelman doesn’t think the season should end after two losses against divisional teams

“It’s the MAC. You see every year someone new,” Edelman said. “We don’t feel we’re out of this. All we can do is keep our heads up, keep working our tails off in practice and just go out there and win ball games.”


An off-day for Jarvis

– Sophomore running back Eugene Jarvis was held to under a 100 yards for the first time this season, snapping his streak of five consecutive 100 yard rushing games. The sophomore finished with a season low 84 yards and fell back to third in the nation with 851 yards on the season. He is behind Michigan’s Micheal Hart (976) and central Florida’s Kevin Smith (860).

Receiving some attention

– Sophomore wide receiver Derek McBryde set career highs for yards and catches against Miami on Saturday. McBryde had seven catches and 124 yards. Those numbers were season highs for Kent State. Junior wide receiver Shawn Bayes was out with a shoulder injury against Miami. Bayes is one of the team’s leading wide-receivers and is expected to be back against Ohio State.

About next week

– The Flashes travel to Columbus to play their last Bowl Championship Conference team on the schedule, the Big Ten’s Ohio State. The Buckeyes enter the game as one of top-ranked teams in the country after Stanford upset number #2 USC at home. Ohio Stadium is sold out for next week’s game and it will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. The Buckeyes lost Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and several other players to the NFL, but return with a strong defense that is ranked second in the country, behind only No. 1 LSU. Ohio State beat Akron 20-2 earlier this season.

Next up in the MAC

– Kent State will try for their second MAC win against Bowling Green at home on October 20. The Flashes beat the Falcons 38-3 at Bowling Green last season. The 35 point win was the largest margin of victory in 2006.

RedHawk woes

– The Flashes are now 11-44 against Miami and haven’t beat them back to back since the 1987 and 1988 seasons. Miami is now 2-0 in the conference and 1-0 in the division.

The last quarter, the worst quarter

– The Flashes have been outscored in the fourth quarter 63-26 this season. The Flashes have scored just one touchdown in the final 15 minutes.

Contact football reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected]

Audio Slideshow: Kent State vs. Miami