Jarvis runs past Bobcats

Joe Harrington

Sophomore sets career mark as Flashes pick up first MAC win

Eugene Jarvis rushes for a 35-yard touchdown against Ohio University Saturday afternoon in the first quarter at Peden Stadium in Athens. Jarvis also scored another touchdown, a 42-yard run, in the third quarter. The Flashes beat the Bobcats 33-25. Gavin

Credit: Ron Soltys


Sophomore Eugene Jarvis is having a season to remember. The Pittsburgh native rushed for 230 yards in the 33-25 win against Ohio on Saturday at Peden Stadium in Athens. It was his fifth-straight 100-yard rushing game and he now leads the nation in rushing yards with 769 and leads the Mid-American Conference in touchdowns with nine. There’s little arguing who had the best game against the Bobcats.

“Eugene’s a special player because he has great vision and makes people miss,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “He’s making us a much better football team.”

Jarvis wasn’t the only Kent State football player to alter the record books or have career highs against the Bobcats. Sophomore kicker Nate Reed tied the school record for field goals in a game.

The last time a kicker made four field goals in a game was 1970, when Gordon Ober did it against Western Michigan.

Just a few weeks ago, Reed was struggling with consistency, missing several extra points and a field goal. Now the sophomore kicker is 8-10 on field goals — he was 1-4 last season — and is 14-16 for extra points.

“From where he was last year to where he is now,” Martin said. “That kid has worked his tail off.”

Reed said the improved play is the result of hard work during the offseason and studying tapes of Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Jeff Reed.

“The more time you spend on the field the more natural it becomes to (the kickers),” Reed said. “And that’s what’s happening to us now.”

But he also knows just how turbulent the kicking game can be, which is why he replaced sophomore punter Jake Kilroy in the second quarter for one play.

Kilroy had a terrible punt for 21 yards minutes before the switch, and Martin wasn’t about to lose the game because of special teams, as he did the year before when Kilroy had two punts for three yards. But the switch didn’t work, as Reed came out and had a bad punt that went for just 11 yards. Kilroy came back in the game and played well.

Reed said kickers need to remember that they are only as good as their next kick, which could come very soon the way he has kicked the past three games.

Senior defensive back Jack Williams had his 11th career interception, becoming sixth all-time in school history. It was his first of the season.

The pick was the second of the day as junior linebacker Derek Burrell had his first career interception in the second quarter — along with a career-high 11 tackles in the game.

With the Bobcats trying to make the score closer going into halftime, Burrell caught a Brad Bower pass that Burrell said was going into the hands of teammate safety freshman Brian Lainhart. It had been a long time since the linebacker had run with the ball.

“It takes me back to my high school days,” Burrell said of the return. “It just fell into my hands.”

The game was far from flawless with a combined 28 penalties — 17 against the Bobcats for 170 yards and 11 for 94 yards for Kent State. The Flashes also had four bad snaps that cost them yardage. The snaps came after junior starting center Josh Perry suffered a groin injury and back up, senior Bill Starry came into the game. Starry had a tough time with his snaps all game, which may have been one reason junior quarterback Julian Edelman had one of his worst running days of his career with 39 yards.

But that was overlooked because for the first time this season and for the first time in nine games, Kent State failed to turn the ball over. Oddly enough, the last time that happened was in the 17-7 loss to Ohio last year.

“That was huge,” Martin said. “We didn’t turn the ball over today, which is a great job by our kids of taking care of the ball.”

Edelman was responsible for most of the calls on Saturday, as Martin said he gave his quarterback several audibles with every play. The end product was a game filled with pass interference calls that were by design. With his receivers running deep and the defense playing man coverage, Edelman lobbed the ball to his receivers in order for one of three things to happen: a catch, an incompletion or a pass interference call. The strategy paid off as it helped the Flashes build a big second half with deep passes and pass interference calls against the Bobcats.

Entering the final quarter — leading 27-10 and having never trailed in the game — the Flashes allowed 15 points to the Bobcats. The game came down to the final minute with the Bobcats attempting to tie the game at 33.

But like they have all season, the defense played well when it counted and forced Ohio to turn the ball over on downs, sealing the win for the Flashes.

“They’ve got a good offense,” Burrell said. “We just came out and knew we needed to stop them.”

Up nextThe win gives Kent State its first MAC victory of the season and improves its record to 1-1 in the conference and 3-2 for the season. Next week the Flashes will host Miami.

The go to guy

Shawn Bayes tied the second-longest passing play of the season with his 44-yard catch in the first quarter. Bayes had three catches, including the lone passing touchdown of the game for the Flashes. Lenric Muldrow had a 45-yard touchdown against Iowa State, which is the longest, but Bayes leads all wide receivers with two touchdowns.

On the rebound

Junior quarterback Julian Edelman threw for 169 yards and one touchdown. The numbers are improved from the Akron game when Edelman completed just eight passes and threw two interceptions. However, Edelman had a rough day running the ball, losing 39 yards on the ground.

Beginner’s luck?

Freshman receiver Alan Vanderink made his debut as a kick returner against Ohio and what a debut it was. Vanderink had two returns for more than 40 yards, giving him a 44.5 average, and lowered a vicious shoulder against a Ohio defender on his first return.

What happened

In the second quarter, the most bizarre play of the season occurred. With fewer than four minutes to play in the half, Edelman scrambled around and threw a pass to Eugene Jarvis that was complete for about 60 yards. But there wasn’t one, but four penalties on the play. One was an illegal forward pass; another was a hold, and a block in the back — all on Kent State. But they were all offset by a facemask call against Ohio. So the play officially didn’t happen.

Contact football reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].