Flashes look to halt losing streak at Army

Deanna Stevens

A win is vital for the Kent State football team as it heads on the road for three games.

With the losing streak currently at 10 games, Kent State coach Doug Martin said a win during this stretch of road games is crucial to avoid another disappointing season.

“I really expect our kids to come out this week and play well,” Martin said. “We need to get a win to get things going. At some point you need to stop the bleeding, and we need to do that this week.”

The contest at Michie Stadium will be the last non-conference game before the Flashes begin their run against Mid-American Conference teams.

And in order to finally bandage the wounds, Martin said the Flashes have to take care of the ball. He added that the players need to gain a sense of urgency when it comes to keeping possession, which is something they did not have in the 44-0 defeat against Minnesota in the season opener.

Turnovers weren’t the only problem last week. Converting in the red zone was also a major problem.

“When you get down into the red zone they really come after you, so we’re going to have to work at that area this week,” Martin said.

While the Flashes are trying to avoid another notch in the loss column, the Black Knights have their own motivation for taking the victory.

Six wins this season will guarantee a bowl appearance later this season for Army. With tough games against Notre Dame and Navy at the end of the season, an early home victory will carry a lot of weight.

The Flashes are expecting another hard-hitting, rushing-dominant game from Army. Yet, maybe a little less one-sided than Minnesota. Martin said the Golden Gophers offensive line was the biggest they will face until Virginia Tech, so the Flashes feel more confident in their upcoming match-ups.

But he is not overlooking the Black Knights’ offense.

“They are very physical on offense,” Martin said. “They have a very good fullback, and they are going to run the ball at us and use play-action.”

Army’s defense is as camouflaged as its fatigues, he added.

“They do a lot of things with their coverages, rolling from one side to another,” Martin said. “They never really show you what they’re going to do until after the snap. So you have to be really sharp offensively to pick those things up.”

According to goarmysports .com, Army coach Bobby Ross said the key to stopping Kent State will be mixing up the defense.

“We will use man-to-man and zone packages, and we’ll use them all because our key is the multiplicity,” Ross said on Army’s Web site. “We don’t want to be matched up in one-on-one situations a whole lot of the time. We want to define where our run support comes from. You can’t always do that in man coverage. We’ll try to mix it up, and keep them off balance.”

For the past decade, Army has not won more than four games in a season. But Martin said he isn’t content with any of the past statistics, especially with a coach like Ross who has won a share of the national championship with Georgia Tech, and made a Super Bowl appearance with the San Diego Chargers.

The Flashes are most dangerous with their newly-employed offensive variety, Ross added.

“Kent State is a wide-open football team that will throw the ball quite a bit,” he said. “The biggest thing we have to worry about is the spread of their formations. They have excellent speed in their receivers. Their running back Eugene Jarvis is a lot like (Army running back Wesley McMahand). He’s very quick and he has great explosion.”

After battling Army, the Flashes will face Miami, which beat them 27-10 last season. They will then travel to Bowling Green, which beat them 24-14 last season.

Contact football reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected].