Bitter ending

Deanna Stevens

KSU football loses last game, finishes 6-6

Ball State may have been renovating its stadium, but it was the Kent State football team that dug itself into a hole in a 30-6 loss Friday.

In the last game of the regular season, the Flashes (6-6, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) found themselves going into halftime down 24-0 after giving up 21 points in the second quarter alone.

The Cardinals (5-7, 5-3 MAC) gave themselves what proved to be a game-winning cushion with a 7-yard touchdown run by Larry Bostic with 42 seconds left in the half.

A 41-yard pass to Ball State sophomore wide receiver Dante Love from freshman quarterback Nate Davis set up the scoring run.

“It was a great team win,” Ball State coach Brady Hoke said on the Ball State athletics Web site. “We struggled a little early, but then Larry really got going for us.”

Bostic said in the release that his performance was because of a team effort.

“I have to give the credit to the offensive line, the receivers down the field and even Nate Davis making some big blocks down the field,” Bostic said. “They make me look good, and this is a great way to end my career.”

Davis, the leading passer in the MAC’s No. 1 passing offense, finished the game with 268 yards on

16 completions and 28 attempts. He also threw for one touchdown and one interception.

The freshman found seven different receivers in the game. Davis hit sophomore tight end Darius Hill the most with five catches and 113 yards. Love also caught five passes for 75 yards.

But the leading scorer for the Cardinals was senior placekicker Brian Jackson, who hit three field goals and converted all of the team’s extra points.

Before its match up with Ball State, Kent State coach Doug Martin said it would be up to the offense to give the team a chance to win the game.

The lack of offensive firepower was the downfall for the Flashes, as they could not rally from their early deficit.

During the game, Ball State gained 405 total yards compared to 265 yards for Kent State.

Finding the flow offensively seemed to be the biggest problem for the Flashes; they had only three first downs in the first half. The Cardinals moved the chains eight times.

Sophomore quarterback Julian Edelman had trouble passing the ball, converting on only 5-of-15 attempts, while redshirt freshman running back Eugene Jarvis could not establish the running game.

Going into halftime, Martin said on WHLO, Akron/Canton’s news talk radio program, that the Flashes needed to convert by passing the ball.

“We’ve got to throw the ball on these people,” Martin said. “They are blitzing and they’re playing everyone at the line of scrimmage and we just aren’t getting it done.”

In the first half, Edelman threw 44 yards. He ended up throwing 19 completions of 35 attempts for 181 yards.

In the fourth quarter, Edelman found senior wide receiver Marcus Hill in the end zone with a 9-yard pass for the Flashes’ only score. But a blocked kick denied them the extra point.

Marcus Hill and freshman wide receiver Darren Rogers led the Flashes in receiving, with 53 yards on six and four catches respectively.

Former defensive back redshirt freshman Derek McBryde made his debut at wide receiver with two catches and 21 yards.

Edelman also led the Flashes in rushing with 95 yards on 21 carries. But the Cardinal defensive line showed no mercy for Jarvis, pushing him back 11 yards on 11 carries.

Another problem for the Kent State offense was its inability to stay on the field during key times.

Ball State had control of the ball for more than 32 minutes, while Kent State’s time of possession was about 27 minutes.

Kent State’s defense was unable to completely stop the Cardinals in the red zone. They went 5-for-6 for the game, but three of the five were field goals.

The Flashes had one major stop, however, when senior defensive back Andre Kirkland picked off a pass in the end zone to save a touchdown in the second quarter.

While the Flashes are bowl-eligible, it is unlikely they will be invited to one of the three bowls MAC teams play in. They finished second in the MAC East Division behind Ohio (9-3, 7-1 MAC) and tied with Northern Illinois and Ball State for fourth in the conference.

Ohio and Central Michigan will play in the MAC Championship game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Athens.

Contact football reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected].