Victory Bound

Kali Price

While certain players are having success, the Flashes need a victory at Eastern Michigan

The Flashes’ defense lines up during their game against Southeast Missouri State on Sept. 10. The Flashes will take on Eastern Michigan tomorrow in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Credit: Jason Hall

Individual success can’t put together a win for Kent State football.

The Flashes (1-3, 0-2 Mid-American Conference) have seen the success of individual players, but the team as a whole has yet to post a win in the MAC.

Three Flashes were nominated for each of the three MAC East Player of the Week Categories.

Junior wide receiver Najah Pruden was nominated for Offensive Player of the Week for his seven receptions for 200 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s 35-32 loss to Ohio. Senior linebacker Jon Sessler was nominated for the defense with his 14 tackles and a 73 yard interception return at Ohio.

But one of the most recently successful Flashes is senior punter Josh Brazen.

Brazen was nominated for the MAC East Special Teams Player of the Week. Brazen’s success has put the Flashes at the No. 1 spot in the MAC for punting and made him the best punter in the MAC. Brazen has punted 25 times in his four games this season, totaling 1156 yards and averaging 46.2 yards.

“He completely changed his fundamentals of punting,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “He was always a three-step punter, and in the spring changed to being a two-step punter. Which has done a couple of things, number one, he’s easier to protect because he gets rid of the ball faster and number two, it’s given him a much better rhythm and (the late) coach (Mike) Drake actually worked with him a lot last spring to get that taken care of for us. It’s paid off huge because he’s had a great year.”

That individual success needs to become more of a team chemisty if the Flashes expect to pick up their first MAC win at Eastern Michigan (2-2, 1-1 MAC).

“We’re going into another conference game and we just need to get a win right now,” Martin said. “There’s nothing wrong with us that a win won’t cure, I assure you that. And we’re doing some good things at times, we’re just not doing them consistently enough. But I still think we have a very good football team.”

The Flashes are the beat Eastern Michigan, 69-17, last season and set a school record for the most points in a game.

But last week, Eastern Michigan came back to beat Central Michigan, 23-20, after a 55-0 loss to Michigan State on Sept. 17.

Eastern Michigan’s close win was a surprise to almost everyone in the MAC.

“Nothing surprises me in this league right now,” Martin said. “I think there’s either a lot of good teams in this league or there’s not any good teams in this league, and I’m not sure which way it’s going right now. But it seems like there’s so much parity that anybody can beat anybody. It’s a funny game in this league, everybody is so even. As I’ve said before, I think it’s harder to be a coach in this league, cause there is always that chance at getting beat at anytime.”

The Flashes might have a bit of trouble tomorrow with their offense.

Sophomore quarterback Michael Machen’s strained MCL might cause problems for the Flashes because his start and amount playing time are unknown.

“(Machen’s) moving around pretty good,” Martin said. “It’ll probably be a game-time decision whether he can play or not though. Hopefully he can practice more tomorrow; we’ll just wait and see. He’s still got to show some improvement here before we judge how much he’ll be able to help us.”

In his place may be freshman quarterback Jon Brown.

Brown played the remainder of the fourth quarter after Machen’s injury and completed 15-of-19 passes for one touchdown and 106 yards.

“The thing about it was, I was just playing and did what coach Martin coaches,” Brown said. “He really stresses throwing the unders, throw the wide routes. And that’s really what I did was just throw completions.”

Martin was pleased with Brown’s performance and said he will see playing time in the future.

“He did a great job dumping it off to the back and underneath and he threw it down field when he needed to,” Martin said. “Jon has a good feel of how to run the offense. It’s possible that Jon Brown is seeing the game better than Machen for the reason that Jon came right from high school. Jon Brown is 5-foot-10 and had zero tipped at the line of scrimmage. This happens because John understands he has to get into passing lanes and slide through the pocket and throw between rushers.”

Brown said by watching Machen, he has learned much about the game and sees Machen as a leader.

“I know that as soon as Mike’s ready to play he’s going to be back on the field,” Brown said. “He’s a great quarterback, and when I’m asked to play, I’ll do the best I can.”

But the Flashes won’t let anything-even the two-game losing streak-get them down.

“Our kids are resilient, they played hard,” Martin said, “they’re competing and they are making enough plays to keep themselves in the game and we had a chance to win it. We just got to go get a win and keep learning how to win.”

Contact assistant sports editor Kali Price at [email protected].