Flashes, Jarvis run past Bobcats

Joe Harrington

Kent State avoided back-to-back losses for the second time this season and beat Ohio 33-25 Saturday at Peden Stadium in Athens.

But it wasn’t easy. The Flashes and the Bobcats combined for 28 penalties in a game that was highlighted by missed opportunities and sloppy play.

However, the Flashes didn’t turn the ball over for the first time this season. Ohio came into the game having the best turnover margin in the Mid-American Conference

“That was huge,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “I’ve said all along we’re a powder keg ready to go off offensively. If we don’t turn the ball over, we are hard to beat against anybody.”

But that wasn’t the story, not when running back Eugene Jarvis is in the backfield. The sophomore ran for 230 yards becoming the first player since current Cleveland Brown and former Kent State quarterback Joshua Cribbs ran for 223 against the Bobcats in 2005.

Jarvis became the nation’s leading rusher with 769 yards on the season, surpassing Michigan’s Mike Hart by 10 yards.

“I give all the credit to my offensive line,” Jarvis said. ” They went out there and opened holes for me and I just ran through them.”

He started early against the Bobcats, rushing for 118 yards on 11 carries in the first quarter including a 41-yard carry and then a 35-yard romp into the endzone. The score gave Flashes its first score of a game they never trailed in.

Junior quarterback Julian Edelman also played well after having one of his worst games of the season last week against Akron. Edelman threw for 169 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter before letting the running game wind the clock down in the second half.

“We really put the game in Julian’s hands today,” Martin said.

According to Martin, the goal of the passing game against the Bobcats was to draw pass interference penalties and frustrate the Bobcats’ secondary. By the fourth quarter, the strategy seemed to have paid off.

” I don’t know how many pass interference penalties (they had) today, but our philosophy was we’re going to either get a pass inference, the catch or an incompletion and that was it,” Martin said. “We were going to take our shots and that worked out well for us.”

Junior linebacker Derek Burrell lead the team in tackles with 11 and also made one of the biggest plays of the game in the second quarter. With 1:23 remaining in the half, Burrell intercepted Ohio quarterback Brad Bower to stop a promising drive.

The Flashes went into halftime with a 17-3 lead and continued to dominate on the ground in the third quarter. Jarvis had 87 yards rushing and another score in the quarter to help create a 17-point lead going into the final quarter.

The Bobcats made it interesting in the fourth, capitalizing on bad snaps – the Flashes had four snaps in the game that resulted in loss yardage – and stalled drives. Yet the defense came up big when it mattered, as they had throughout most of the game, to stop Ohio’s last-minute drive.

“It went all the way down to the wire,” Martin said. “We probably made it a little closer than we had to at the end.”

Contact football reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].