Toledo all taunt, no game

Sean Ammerman

While sifting through the college football halftime highlights over the weekend, I saw something that is becoming more common these days at sporting events.

A fight broke out in the middle of a game between Miami and Florida International.

Fights tend to break out during football games; that is just the nature of a sport that is so physical. But this fight was particularly violent and it appeared to include nearly every member of each team. Fists were thrown, players stomped one another. I even saw a player take off his helmet and use it as a weapon.

Now I’m not one who is shocked easily, but this one was a little rough.

I’ll leave it to someone with more prestige and wisdom than I to preach how inexcusable a massive brawl is in a collegiate sporting event. But it baffles me how an athlete who makes his way up to division I-A football could be willing to throw it away in a fight.

Fights like that one don’t come out of nowhere; they usually start with taunting before a game, or stem from a long-standing rivalry. Both were reasons in this case.

Saturday at Dix Stadium, before Kent State faced Toledo, there was also some taunting going on.

Players from the Rockets danced on the Kent State logo and allegedly made some choice comments.

It’s difficult to tell how serious it was or who started what, but it seemed to have an effect on the Kent State players.

Defensive back Andre Kirkland compared it to someone coming in his house and putting their feet on the coffee table.

Kent State coach Doug Martin said it was a mistake on the Rocket’s part and he used it as an opportunity to instill in his team the tradition of defending its home turf.

But there was not a fight or even a scuffle to be had once the game began.

In football there are plenty of legal ways to retaliate between the whistles, as Martin pointed out after the game.

The Flashes took care of their business on the field. A 40-14 beating is enough to shut anyone up.

For decades the Flashes were considered the token losers in the Mid-American Conference, so I doubt verbal abuse was a stranger to them. Now that they have seen a sudden burst of success it’s no wonder some teams might be jealous.

The win was historic for Kent State football, being the first time in school history it has started the season 4-0 in the MAC.

The stand-out player was runningback Eugene Jarvis, who has been used seldom since week one due to an ankle injury. He tried to make up for lost time, rushing for a career-high 179 yards and three touchdowns. This was the highest single-game total in nine years for a Kent State rusher.

The Flashes will now ride its five-game winning streak, its first in more than 30 years, into a bye week.

Contact assistant sports editor Sean Ammerman at [email protected].