KSU football win, 20 years in the making

Joe Harrington

Defensive lineman Colin Ferrell was three years old and living in Brooklyn, N.Y., the last time Kent State football beat a non-conference Bowl Championship Series team. That game was against Kansas on Sept. 19, 1987, 10 years before the NCAA started the BCS points system.

Now, nearly 20 years later, the Flashes have done it again beating Iowa State 23-14 Thursday.

Ferrell, a senior, was at least alive for the 1987 game. Thirty-nine players on the current roster weren’t even born yet.

“Its been a long time coming and this win was a total team effort,” Ferrell said.

The opening season win is just the fourth for the Flashes since 1988 and the first season-opening win against a BCS conference team since 1973, when they beat Louisville 10-3.

The long awaited win may have never happened if it weren’t for the half-time adjustments the defense made.

After allowing Iowa State running back J.J. Bass to run for 106 yards in the first half, the defense gave up just 39 rushing yards in the second half, with Bass responsible for 27 of those yards. It also forced three turnovers during the game. None of them were as big as red-shirt freshman safety Brian Lainhart’s third quarter interception, which he returned 50 yards to the Iowa State eight yard-line, setting up a Kent State touchdown. It was the red-shirt freshman’s first time playing for the Flashes.

“It was a play we ran in practice all week and I was just trying to make a play,” Lainhart said.

Head coach Doug Martin said junior linebacker Jameson Konz played one of his best games of his career.

Konz, who gained weight during the off-season, is considered by coaches as one of the most athletic players on the team. He had seven tackles and recorded a sack against Iowa State.

Running Back Update

Sophomore Darren Rogers is day-to-day after suffering a shoulder injury in the first quarter last week. He started the game and rushed four times for nine yards. After the injury he was replaced by another sophomore, Eugene Jarvis.

Jarvis went on to run for 113 yards on 25 carries and one touchdown, in a game he wasn’t supposed to play in after suffering an ankle injury during training camp and having only participated in three practices last week. Martin said Jarvis will be playing at 100 percent and the ankle injury is behind him.

Rogers may be back for this week. He is expected to see more playing time as a wide receiver when he does return, depending on the health of the other running backs.

Red Shirt Burned

Martin announced on Monday that the team will no longer be red-shirting freshman running back Andre Flowers.

“We feel that over a 12-game season we’re going to need him with his size and strength,” Martin said. “We’re going to go ahead and get him ready now so when we get to the MAC schedule, he’s ready to contribute.”

Flowers, who is 5′ 11 and 200 pounds, ran for 6,400 yards and 74 touchdowns in high school.

“He’s got the body and the frame to be more of a power guy for (Kent State),” Martin said.

Flowers will start on most of the special team squads and will see time in the backfield against Kentucky.

Inside the MAC

Of the 13 teams in the Mid-American Conference, only five were able to win their season opener. The MAC West division suffered the worst of the conference woes, as none of the five teams were able to win over the weekend.

Bowling Green is the only other team in the MAC to beat a school from a BCS conference.

The Falcons upset Minnesota, of the Big 10 Conference, 32-31 in the Metrodome Saturday.

In the only game between two MAC schools over the weekend, Miami beat Ball State 14-13 last Thursday.

Moving Forward

Ferrell said the Iowa State win has brought a lot of confidence to the team, but Martin has other worries.

“My biggest concern now is how we handle a little success,” he said. “The only thing this win did for (the team) was guarantee us that we can be 1-11.”

Contact Football reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].