Kent State looks to halt losing streak in last home game

Deanna Stevens

Earlier this season, the Kent State football team made a goal to win seven games.

With a 5-5 record (4-2 Mid American Conference) and two games left in the regular season, the journey to achieve that goal begins tonight at Dix Stadium against Eastern Michigan.

“I think that our players need to learn how to play with that pressure, because quite frankly our kids didn’t handle it well at Buffalo,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “And it can move us forward, particularly if we can get it done. If we can get seven wins this year, we can take a giant step for next year.”

Coming off its third straight loss, 23-0 against Virginia Tech, Martin said he is confident in how his team will play.

“I feel much better about our team after that Virginia Tech game than after that Buffalo game,” Martin said. “They have a good look back in (their) eyes, and I think they’re excited about playing.”

But tonight’s game isn’t the only one that affects the position of the Flashes. The Ohio Bobcats beat Akron to clinch the MAC East Championship.

“I told our team yesterday that no matter what happens Thursday, that can’t dictate how we play Friday,” Martin said. “We are chasing something here that hasn’t been done many times in the history of this school, which is a winning season. But we can’t get seven until we get six.”

Eastern Michigan (1-9, 1-5 MAC) is standing in the way of that sixth game.

The all-time series between the Flashes and the Eagles is tied 13-13 heading into tonight’s match-up. Eastern Michigan won last season’s meeting, 27-20.

Martin said the Eagles are especially tough opponents on the defensive side of the ball.

“They are really playing hard,” Martin said. “You look at their stats, people move the ball on them, and they get in the red zone, but they don’t score. They don’t give up a tremendous amount of points.”

With the exception of their games against Michigan State and Navy, when they gave up 52 and 42 points respectively, the Eagles’ opponents average 22 points per game.

Martin said the Flashes’ style of play is the key to playing well versus the Eagles.

“We’ve got to come and make this a very physical football game,”he said. “If we get that done and take care of the ball, we’ll be ok.”

Martin added for the last home game of the season, the Flashes need one more thing: fan support

“We need these students at this football game,” Martin said. “I need that crazy group of guys that was at the Ohio game with their shirts off the whole game. I want those guys in particular and bring a couple thousand with them.”

Contact football reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected].

Kent State vs. Eastern Michigan

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: Dix Stadium

Kent State’s record: 5-5 overall, 4-2 MAC

Eastern Michigan’s record: 1-9 overall, 1-5 MAC

The series: The all-time series between the two teams is tied 13-13

Last meeting: Eastern Michigan beat Kent State 27-20 last season

TV/Radio: Webcast on K-Zone, audio

available on WHLO-AM 640