Ohio Hart-break

Joe Harrington

Hartline’s early punt seals fate for outmatched Flashes

Kent State now understands why Ohio State is ranked third in the country. After suffering its worst loss of the season to the Buckeyes, 48-3 romp in front of a 105,051 fans in Ohio Stadium Saturday, it was easy to see why Ohio State is consistently at the top of the rankings.

“We played a great football team today,” coach Doug Martin said. “Give them all the credit in the world, they are an outstanding football team.”

The Flashes were a 30-point underdog in the game, but still had high hopes.

“When you go and play one of these teams as a head coach, you can’t go and tell your players, ‘We’re going down there to have a good time, we’re going to eat a steak and come on home’-our goal was to win this game,” Martin said.

After holding the Buckeyes to just seven points in the first quarter, Ohio State exploded for 28 points in the second quarter, diminishing any chance of an upset.

The first score of the second quarter came after Kent State sophomore Jake Kilroy punted to sophomore Brian Hartline. The receiver, who also had a 14-yard touchdown catch, ran 90 yards for the longest punt return for a touchdown in Ohio State history. Sophomore Kirk Belgrave had a chance to make the tackle, but tripped.

The play may have been the turning point of the game, as the Buckeyes didn’t stop scoring after that.

“I feel like we matched up pretty well as far as the physical aspect of the game,” senior Colin Ferrell said. ” We just made certain mistakes you can’t make playing the No.3 team in the nation.”

The Flashes continued to struggle with turnovers, highlighted by junior quarterback Julian Edelman’s ninth interception of the season. Ohio State sophomore cornerback Donald Washington intercepted Edelman’s pass and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown, the first interception Edelman has thrown that resulted in a touchdown.

“Our whole game plan was to try to (keep the score low),” Martin said. “We didn’t get it done because of the punt and the interception for the touchdown. Those things really blew it open.”

The second half was more of the same with the Buckeyes taking advantage of its deep bench. With freshman running back Brandon Sane and sophomore quarterback Rob Schoenhoft playing most of the half, the Buckeyes continued to put points on the board taking a 45-0 lead into the final quarter of the game.

Despite being held to three points by one of the best defenses in the country, the Flashes had some success running the ball. Eugene Jarvis had 85 yards on 16 carries before sitting out the fourth quarter as the game went out of reach. As a team, the Flashes rushed for 161 yards, the most any team has done against the Buckeyes this season.

“The offensive line was blocking well,” Jarvis said. “That’s big, all year long we’ve been able to run and we just have to use this game as a spring board in the Bowling Green game.”

The Flashes used a multitude of backs, giving Jarvis breaks throughout the game. Sophomore Christen Haywood and freshman Andre Flowers saw a lot of time. The Flashes also used different formations to open extra running lanes for their young backs.

“They really shut down everybody’s running game,” Martin said. “What we tried to do was use formations to create extra gaps. If you’re going to run the ball on them, you better be a diverse running team.”

The defense allowed 401 yards of offense, the second most of the season and now must face a dangerous Bowling Green team next week.

“We got to man up and find a way to win next week,” Ferrell said.

Contact football reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].