Football’s offense gets the ball rolling

Kali Price

Kent State’s Antonio King

Credit: Jason Hall

The key to this season’s success for Kent State football was supposed to be the defense.

The defense that was No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference in the 2004 season.

But after the Flashes’ season opener, it was the offense that won over the heart of Kent State coach Doug Martin.

Therefore, the Flashes (0-1) will be looking to the offense in their home opener against Southeast Missouri State (0-1) tomorrow.

The Flashes are coming off of a disappointing loss to Big 10 opponent Michigan State. The Flashes may have lost 49-14, but Martin said that he wasn’t too concerned with the offense’s performance.

“Here’s what would’ve scared me to death,” Martin said. “If we had gone up there and Michael (Machen) had been sacked five or six times, which would have meant maybe he’s not mobile, maybe we can’t protect the drop-back pass, that type of stuff.”

Obviously, that didn’t happen.

The pressure of the game didn’t stop Machen at all. He ended up throwing for 293 yards, completed over 60 percent of passes, threw two touchdowns and only one interception.

“(Machen’s) got great presence in the pocket. He knows how to avoid the rush and still stay in there and make the throw,” Martin said. “He doesn’t take his eyes off of down field when he’s moving back there; he’s not watching the rush. If you’re going to be a great quarterback, that’s what you got to do, and that’s hard to teach. He has got a lot of upside to him.”

Michigan State’s dominance of the Flashes didn’t change Martin’s expectations for the offense for tomorrow.

“I do think we are farther along, specifically on offense, than I thought we’d be,” Martin said. “I feel we are a good offensive football team despite playing a lot of young guys. Our young receivers, most notably Shawn Lewis and Shawn Bayes, are going to be big-time players, and by the third or fourth week of the season, they are going to be veterans.”

But Southeast’s offense is posed to be a challenge as well.

Martin said that the Redhawks’ offense is extremely similar to the passing offense of the Flashes.

The Redhawks, who are 0-6 against MAC opponents, went 3-8 last season and fell in their home opener to nationally ranked Southern Illinois, 58-23, last Saturday.

The Flashes will kickoff at 4 p.m. tomorrow at Dix Stadium.

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