September 13, 2008
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
After losing seven straight games to close out the 2007 season and dropping the first two contests this year, Kent State finally won a game. But, the Flashes were far from perfect in the victory. Here's a look at the Good, the bad and the ugly parts of the 24-3 win over Delaware State.
- Kent State got a win! According to ESPN.com, the Golden Flashes held the nation's longest losing streak dating back to the 2007 season. So, even a win over a Division I-AA opponent has to be considered a big win after losing nine straight contests. Now the Flashes must use the victory to generate some momentum heading to Louisiana-Lafayette next week followed the Mid-American Conference opener against Akron.
- The last time Kent State's defense pitched a shutout was in 1994 (Ohio, 24-0) and the Flashes will have to look to keep another opponent from scoring because Delaware State booted a late field goal to avoid the blanking. But, the defense played well, especially at linebacker where Cobrani Mixon led the team with 11 tackles and Derek Burrell was second with 10 stops. The defense was particularly impressive on third down. Last season, Delaware State was 0-for-14 on third down conversions and they started this game 0-for-6 and ended the contest just 4 of 16.
- The Flashes showed plenty of balance on offense. They finished the game with 215 rushing yards and 178 through the air, and that was without Eugene Jarvis, who spent most of the game on the sideline after tweaking his ankle.
- Freshman Matt Rinehart responded positively after having two punts blocked last week at Iowa State. Rinehart punted four times for a 40.0 yards per punt average and landed two inside the 20. He wasn't perfect, but after what happened last week, it's good to see the freshman show no ill effects from last week's disaster.
- The special teams units received an awful lot of attention this week after their poor performances last week. Delaware State head coach Al Lavan credited the Golden Flashes special teams with changing the shape of this game. And, he's right. The special teams blocked a Hornets' field goal attempt and scored on a fake field goal when Leneric Muldrow raced around the left side of the formation for a 31-yard score, his second career touchdown on a fake field goal.
Kent State's wide receivers have shown improvement this season, but still they drop too many passes. Saturday there were several including one by redshirt freshman Sam Kirkland that easily would have resulted in seven points for the Flashes as Kirkland got behind the defender. Edelman's pass was on the money, but Kirkland couldn't corral the football.
The Golden Flashes again had trouble protecting the football. The Flashes threw two interceptions and fumbled twice, losing one of them. One of quarterback Julian Edelman's two interceptions has to be credited to an outstanding play by Delaware State cornerback James Romain. The senior ran stride for stride with KSU wide receiver Shawn Bayes and made a nice jumping catch to end one Kent State drive. The other turnovers were unforced, none more glaring than the fumble into the end zone by sophomore running back Andre Flowers. In the absence of Jarvis, Flowers was called upon to carry 17 times and rushed for 54 yards-both career highs. He scored one touchdown.
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