Flashes fumble opportunities

Deanna Stevens

Late field goal lifts Army over Kent in overtime

Even though Army was the opponent, the Kent State football team was its own worst enemy in a 17-14 overtime loss on Saturday.

The Flashes (0-2) committed crucial errors late in the game and let the Black Knights (1-1) earn their first win of the season.

Defensive line coach Matt Edwards said the loss, although painful, will be important to the team’s growth.

“You definitely learn from a loss, and ones like this are a painful one,” said Edwards on the post-game radio program. “Our guys will mature from it and go out next week. I think they realize how hard you have to play to win.”

Before battling Army, Kent State coach Doug Martin said taking care of the ball and stopping the run would be key to a victory.

Kent State did not succeed on either account, with the turnovers causing the most damage for the second week in row.

The Flashes had the first possession of overtime, but sophomore quarterback Julian Edelman fumbled the ball on second down to give Army a chance to win the game.

Army took advantage of that chance.

Kicker Austin Miller converted a 36-yard field goal to capture the game for Army.

Even before it got to that point, Army gave Kent State several chances to come up with the upset. But, the Flashes didn’t consistently come up with big plays.

In the first possession of the fourth quarter, the Flashes, led by Edelman, showed one of their best offensive sets of the game.

They effectively used the run and the pass to catch Army’s defense off-guard. But the momentum was halted when sophomore kicker Reid Macko missed a 23-yard field goal that would have cut Army’s lead to four.

Defensively the Flashes performed well, especially in the second half.

Kent State was led by junior defensive back Fritz Jacques, junior defensive lineman Colin Ferrell and linebacker Cedrick Maxwell. They combined to have 32 tackles and two interceptions.

“I thought we played very hard on defense,” Edwards said after the game. “We played great team defense. Different players came up with big plays for us. I thought it was a great effort. Our defense definitely took some strides today.”

Following the missed field goal, Kent State’s defense made good plays to force Army to go three-and-out.

Then the Flashes decided to gamble and make it a game.

Even though the team struggled to convert on 3rd and 4th downs for most of the game, Martin called a passing play on fourth and four. Edelman hit junior tight end Tom Sitko with a 7-yard pass to keep the Flashes’ drive going.

In the same possession, senior wide receiver Najah Pruden caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Edelman to tie the game with less than four minutes left in regulation. Pruden finished the game with 57 yards on four catches, all of which came in the second half.

Edelman finished the game with nine completions on 22 attempts and 92 yards passing, and led the Kent State with 82 yards rushing on 16 attempts.

The Flashes out-ran the Black Knights in total rushing yardage 198- to-171.

Even though the game ended negatively, the Flashes scored first, on their first possession of the game.

A fake field goal was executed perfectly and landed freshman Darren Rogers in the end zone after a 17-yard carry.

But after that, Kent State was unable to stop Army in the red zone. Freshman running back Tony Moore rushed for both of his team’s touchdowns from inside the 6-yard line.

Sophomore running back Wesley McMahand led Army with 90 yards on 19 carries.

The Flashes will make their 2006 Mid-American Conference debut at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Miami.

Contact football reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected].