Freshman throws for 247 yards, three touchdowns in 41-32 loss to Chippewas

Joe Harrington

The freshman quarterback, Giorgio Morgan, throws three touchdowns in his first start. The kicker, Nate Reed, hits a school record 52-yard field goal. The senior leader on defense, Jack Williams, not only has the only interception of the game, but has 19 tackles — a career high.

But Kent State still lost its fourth straight game, losing to Central Michigan, 41-32, at Dix Stadium on Saturday.

This loss was different for the Flashes. Instead of having three turnovers and lots of penalties — like virtually every Mid-American Conference game Kent State has played this season — the Flashes had one of their best games of the season.

True freshman quarterback Giorgio Morgan set the pace, throwing for 247 yards and a team season-high three touchdowns. Last week the Flashes didn’t have a single passing yard in the first half and finished with 128 yards for the game. Saturday, they had 130 yards at halftime.

Kent State coach Doug Martin let his quarterback know just how well he had played.

“Early in the week I told Giorgio I was going to define a successful game for him. And the definition was that he execute the running game and he not turn the ball over,” Martin said. “And if he would do those two things he would give us a chance to win. I was expressing to him that, that was exactly what he had done, and he kept us in the game and he had done his job.”

Because of this week’s bye, Morgan will have two weeks to prepare for Northern Illinois. Martin said the bye week will be helpful as Morgan must continue to develop because the Flashes will face better defenses in the last three games.

“I told him that if what we saw today is who he can become these next three games, we have a chance to win all three,” Martin said.

One thing that Morgan didn’t affect was the play of Eugene Jarvis. The sophomore ran for 156 yards and one touchdown. Jarvis ran for more than 100 yards in the first half for the fifth time this season and now has 11 touchdowns.

Jarvis, the undisputed team MVP this season, needs 66 yards to tie Kent State’s all-time single season rushing record of 1,325 yards set by Eric Wilkerson in 1988.

“(Jarvis) is as good of a running back as I have seen,” Central Michigan coach Butch Jones said. “Anytime Jarvis has his hands on the ball he is a threat to score.”

Kicker Nate Reed also has developed into a threat this season. Reed made a pair of long field goals — 47- and 52-yards — in the first quarter and appeared to be on his way to another impressive day. Then the quarter ended. The sophomore missed the next three field goal attempts and missed two extra points in the second half, one of which was blocked.

Reed had made 15 straight kicks since the Ohio game.

With the exception of senior defensive back Jack Williams, who had 19 tackles and an interception, the defense also had an off day. The 41st-ranked defense in the country allowed 580 yards of offense, the most they have given up all year.

Central Michigan quarterback sophomore Dan LeFevour looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the MAC as he threw for three touchdowns and 359 yards, the most a quarterback has thrown for all season against the Flashes.

It just wasn’t the passing game that doomed the Flashes; Central Michigan was able to run for 221 yards. Senior Justin Hoskins ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns, while LeFevour added 75 yards on 12 carries.

“That was a really good football team that we just played and I think with the exception of Kentucky, that is the best offensive football team we have played this year,” Martin said.

Eight is enough

-Morgan was able to complete passes to eight different receivers, including seven passes to sophomore Phil Garner. Garner’s seven catches are a career high. His touchdown catch in the second quarter was his first at Kent State.

Freshman Andre Flowers had his first career touchdown as well, after catching a 22-yard pass from Morgan in the first quarter. Also, freshman tight end Jon Simpson caught his first career pass, while Cameron Bobb caught his first pass of the season.

Nobody does it better

-Sophomore Eugene Jarvis continues to climb the Kent State record books in just his second season as the starting running back. The Pittsburgh native is 10th on the all-time rushing list with 2,057 career yards. It is just the 11th time in school history a player has rushed for more than 2,000 yards in a career.

Kicking it to the curb

-Nate Reed’s 52-yard field goal is the longest in school history. The old record was held by Paul Marchese who in 1977 made a 51-yard field goal against Bowling Green.

Angry neighbors of the north

-Central Michigan improves its record to 9-22 against the Flashes, including 5-10 at Kent State. It was the first time since 1997 that the Chippewas played at Dix Stadium.

Shooting for five

-The Flashes have now lost four games in a row, including three straight MAC games. One of their losses came to Ohio State.

6-6 has a nice ring to it

-After starting the season with high hopes, the Flashes are last in the MAC East at 1-4. The Flashes need to win the rest of their games to avoid their fifth losing season in six seasons. The Flashes went 6-6 last season.

Just not the same

-The Flashes didn’t turn the ball over in Saturday’s game. It was only the second time this season the Flashes did not turn the ball over. The first came in a 33-25 win over Ohio Sept. 29.

Contact football reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].