Credit: DKS Editors
The 50th meeting between Kent State and Akron can be described in one four-letter word: Ugly. In front of the largest crowd in the Rubber Bowl since 2001, Kent State out gained the Zips by 130 yards, but still found themselves on the losing end, 27-20.
The game featured seven turnovers and 16 penalties between the two teams. Kent State, committed four of those turnovers and six of those penalties.
“We were own worst enemy again,” coach Doug Martin said. ” The only thing that can beat us right now are turnovers.”
The Flashes led throughout most of the game, but Akron capitalized on key turnovers and missed opportunities by the Flashes to dominate the last quarter. Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, The Flashes had given up two touchdowns and blew a ten-point lead.
But that wasn’t surprising after watching the first three quarters.
The first half alone had 13 punts and sloppy play as neither team could produce much on offense.
The first score came after freshman receiver Aaron Robinson caught a 44-yard pass to put the Flashes on the Akron six-yard line. Eugene Jarvis, the brightest spot on an otherwise dim offensive day, ran for the first of his two touchdowns.
Jarvis was nearly unstoppable. Flirting with a 200-yard rushing day entering the fourth quarter, Jarvis finished with 162 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns.
“We went up and down the field on Akron’s defense,” said Martin. “They had absolutely no answer for us.”
The second leading rusher in the game was quarterback Julian Edelman, who ran for 91 yards on 20 carries, but it was his passing game that needed to show up on Saturday.
The junior from California was just 8-21 passing with two interceptions and no touchdowns. The passing game had some success with sophomore receiver Derek McBryde catching four passes for 81 yards, the first passes he has caught all year.
Martin said the defense played well enough to win. After two quarters of play, the Flashes held the Zips to one touchdown. The only score coming at the end of the half came on after an Edelman fumble.
The halftime stats were impressive for the Flashes’ defense. They had forced eight punts, allowed 91 yards of offense and at that point had allowed just three completions.
The second half wasn’t much different. Despite allowing 154 yards, the defense held their own, even though they were consistently being placed in bad field position.
By the fourth quarter, the defense began to tire as Akron controlled the ball for much of the second half.
The most controversial play came in the fourth quarter when officials, Martin said, missed a crucial fumble call late in the game.
But the defense would not blame the officials for the loss.
“We didn’t make the plays we needed to make,” senior defensive back Jack Williams said.
Contact football reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected]