Losing streak hits 10

Deanna Stevens

Golden Gophers defense, Flashes offensive miscues add up to shutout in season opener

Senior defensive back Barry Drakeford tries to tackle and misses senior wide receiver Logan Payne during the first half of last night’s game at Dix Stadium. The Golden Gophers shut out the Flashes 44-0. GAVIN JACKSON | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

Defending the run, and not converting scoring opportunities led to the Kent State football team’s 44-0 downfall in its season opener on Thursday.

During halftime, rain fittingly made an appearance to depict the deflated atmosphere after three miss-handled chances to score by the Flashes.

While it took until have time for the rain to start, Minnesota wasted no time showing why have appeared in six bowl games in seven seasons. With 8:58 in the first quarter, they scored off a 39-yard pass from quarterback Bryan Cupito to redshirt freshman Eric Decker.

On their next possession, the Golden Gophers took advantage of their running expertise on a 3-yard run by starting running back Alex Daniels.

Kent State coach Doug Martin said he was pleased to see some promsising play from the Flashes, but turnovers killed any chance for Kent State.

“There was only one time in this game that we went three times and out,” Martin said. “Minnesota didn’t stop us tonight, we stopped ourselves with the turnovers.”


The Flashes had its first real opportunity to cut the Gophers lead down to only one touchdown at the end of the first quarter. A 64-yard pass by sophomore, quarterback Julian Edelman to senior wide-receiver Najah Pruden was fumbled in the end zone to give the ball back to the Minnesota.

In the second quarter, the Flashes defense was more efficient. They held Gophers to only a 22-yard field goal, after they reached the four-yard line.

The hold was the first and only third-down stop for the Flashes in the first half.

And that hold led to some momentum to the Falshes’ offense. Starting from their own 30, Kent State moved the chains all the way to Minnesota’s one yard line. But, when Edelman was sacked for a loss of seven yards on second and goal the Flashes were forced to go for the field goal.

But, they missed the 22-yard try, to keep the shut out going.

“At that point we needed to get something on the scoreboard,” Martin said. “We had a geat drive to get all the way down there, and I just wanted to get some points on the board. To miss that kick really took some air out of us.”

From interceptions, to sacks, things just kept getting worse for Kent State in the second half.

Minnesota’s offense, its running game in particular, became more dominant as Kent State’s momentum faded. While problems with the running backs were circulating all over the NCAA, Daniels left know doubt to how good they could be.

He led the Golden Gophers with 155 yards on 24 carries and three touchdowns by the fourth quarter. The assumed starting running back, Amir Pinnix was second for Minnesota with nine carries and 59 yards.

The team finished with 322 total yards and 4 rushing touchdowns

One bright spot for the Flashes, well dim spot, was the signs of life on offense–especially the rushing yards they put up themselves. They had more than 100-yards rushing. Over one-fifth the total yards they had last season.

Sophomore running back Eugene Jarvis led Kent State with 109 yards on 15 carries, by mid-fourth quarter. Edelman, known for his ablity to rush, was second for the Flashes with 11 carries for 28 yards.

Receiving had some highlights as well. Pruden had 118 yards on 5 receptions. Edelman had six attempts on 10 completions for 149 yards, up to the third quarter. Better than Minnesota’s senior starting quarterback, Cupito, who had 146 yards on eight completions and 13 attempts.

Junior quarterback Michael Machen did not play. Martin said he was injured, and did not disclose the severity of the injury as well as not knowing how long Machen would be out of commission.

Contact football reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected].