Rood awakening

Joe Harrington

Turnover problems catch up

Sophomore running back Eugene Jarvis dives into the endzone for a touchdown against the Akron Zips Saturday afternoon. The Zips went on to defeat the Flashes 27-20 in front of the largest Rubber Bowl crowd since 2001. Daniel Owen | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

LISTEN to Coach Doug Martin talk about the team’s performance against Akron.

WATCH highlights of the game against Akron.


After losing to Akron 27-20 at the Rubber Bowl on Saturday, Eugene Jarvis put the game into perspective.

“Our defense played well, but we lost and we’ve got to move on,” Jarvis said. “This loss might help us, because sometimes a loss can be the best thing.”

The sophomore running back needed no excuses for his play. Jarvis, the leading rusher in the Mid-American Conference with 539 yards in four games, arguably played better than anyone on the field.

He ran 162 yards on 28 carries and two touchdowns, which also means he has rushed at least 100 yards in every game this season. His two touchdowns gave him seven for the year — after having just three all last year. The Pittsburgh native leads the MAC in rushing attempts at 95. If Jarvis continues to perform well, that number will only increase.

But the running game is just one part of the offense; the passing game struggled from start to finish against the Zips.

Junior quarterback Julian Edelman completed just eight passes in the game and threw two interceptions. His great day running the ball — 91 yards on 20 carries — was overshadowed by turnovers that ultimately cost the Flashes the game.

“You can pick up a pattern, obviously we turned the ball over and it’s my fault,” Edelman said. “We’ve got to work on it (because) it’s hurting this team right now.”

Coach Doug Martin agreed with his quarterback. The Flashes have a MAC worst 14 turnovers with seven interceptions and seven fumbles. Last season, the Flashes had the second most turnovers in the MAC with 25, but also had the third most takeaways with 28.

This season the Flashes have just six takeaways, giving them the worst margin in the MAC. Against Akron the Flashes not only had two picks but also fumbled four times, losing two of them.

“We’ve got to find a way to get (the turnovers) stopped,” Martin said. “If you’re going to stop yourself like that — and we have all season — you’re your own worst enemy.”

The biggest fumble of the game may have been the one that wasn’t ruled a fumble by the officials. With Akron attempting to run the clock out in the fourth quarter, Akron junior running back Bryan Williams was tackled in front of the Kent State sidelines and, according to Martin, lost the ball and the Flashes recovered. But the officials never ruled the play a fumble.

“It was a fumble, it wasn’t even close, one official said it was a fumble, the other guy said he was down, he asked if he was 100 percent sure and he said yes and so it was,” Martin said. “But they screwed that up.”

If the defense had recovered, it would have capped another terrific game by the unit. In the first half, Akron had just three pass completions — only one of those were by Akron’s starting quarterback Carlton Jackson — and allowed just 91 yards of total offense. The Zips only completed nine passes in the game for 112 yards. Akron’s passing struggles against Kent State shouldn’t have come as a surprise as the Flashes lead the MAC in pass defense.

The defense didn’t have a perfect game though. They allowed 154 yards in the second half, and missed tackles led to a consistent fourth quarter running game for the Zips. With Kent State unable to stop the run late in the game, Akron was able to have a nine-play drive for 30 yards that took 4:11 off the clock. When Kent State got the ball back, they had just 1:36 left to go 80 yards for the tie.

“When we didn’t get those stops, the momentum shifted a bit,” said senior cornerback Jack Williams, who tied his career high for tackles in a game with 12.

Now the Flashes must try to avoid losing back-to-back games, a goal from the start of the season. The Flashes are now in their MAC schedule and the next game is against the conference’s preseason pick to win the MAC East, Ohio.

“This loss could help us,” Jarvis said. “Sometimes losses don’t hurt you, you regroup, and I guarantee that this team will regroup.”


-Eugene Jarvis had his fourth 100 yard rushing game of the season and his third multi-touchdown game of the season. He currently leads the MAC in almost every rushing stat, except touchdowns. Ohio’s Kalvin McRae leads the conference in touchdowns with six.

-Sophomore wide receiver Derek McBryde entered the Wagon Wheel game with just two catches in his career, but finished with career highs in yards and receptions. McBryde had four catches for 81 yards as he lead all receivers in those categories.

-Senior Jack Williams and junior linebacker Cedrick Maxwell each tied career highs in tackles with 12 a piece. The two players are also the leading tacklers for the Flashes as Williams leads the team with 31 and Maxwell is right behind him with 30.

-Julian Edelman has now passed for more than 700 yards but still struggles with turnovers. The junior signal caller had 10 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions last season and is on track to finish with more interceptions than touchdowns this season. Edelman has 5 touchdown passes and six picks this season.

-Freshman safety Brian Lainhart had his second interception of the season in the third quarter. The Flashes have four interceptions in the first four games.

-Kent State is now 19-36-2 in MAC season openers and now 2-4 in MAC openers against rival Akron. The Zips improved their record to 28-20-2 against Kent State, but the Flashes still lead the series in the Wagon Wheel games, 19-16-1.

-Saturday’s Wagon Wheel game drew the largest crowd at the Rubber Bowl since 2001 at 21,867 in attendance. The 50th meeting between the two teams will be the last time the game will be played at the Rubber Bowl as Akron plans on having its new stadium completed before 2009.

Contact football reporter Joe Harrington at [email protected].