OXFORD--Again, Kent State found new and creative ways to lose a football game.
In a 27-21 loss to Miami on Saturday at Yager Stadium, the Golden Flashes
turned the ball over twice, once in the end zone with just 56 seconds left
in the game, had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown, missed a field
goal and failed to capitalize on advantageous field position with a lead in
the third quarter that could have put the game out of reach.
"We just didn't play well enough in any phase, really, to win
the football game," said Kent State head coach Doug Martin. "That's
kind of the bottom line there."
Kent State (1-3 overall, 0-1 in the Mid-American Conference) opened the game
with a four-play, 56-yard drive capped by a Jacquise Terry 39-yard
Miami responded with a field goal to cut the Golden Flashes lead to 7-3.
The Flashes turned Miami's only turnover, a Cobrani Mixon fumble
recovery at the RedHawks' 14, into another Terry touchdown for a 14-3
lead that held up until Miami quarterback Zac Dysert hit Armand Robinson with a three-yard touchdown pass with 2:31 left in the first
Prior to Miami's scoring drive, Kent State faced a third-and-1 at its
own 30. Terry appeared to have the first down before Miami linebacker Jerrell Wedge popped the ball free. Terry recovered, but for a loss of 10 yards.
Despite being out gained by Miami in the first half, 206-81, the Flashes led
14-10 at the break.
Things got ugly in the third quarter.
The Flashes' first four possessions of the second half started at their
own 36, 38, 33 and at the Miami 41, but they failed to score any points. The
first drive ended with a punt after six plays, the second in a missed field
goal, the third with a punt and Keith was picked off at the Miami 31 on the
"When the weather is like it is today, you're playing a field
position game, which for the most part we played very, very well," Martin
said. "We did keep them pinned back and we got some short fields. You've
got to take advantage of that."
Miami turned the interception into a touchdown to take their first lead of
the game, 17-14, with 14:53 left in the game.
It took the RedHawks just 1:03 to make it a two-score game.
The Flashes returned the ensuing kickoff to their own 18 then proceeded to
lose two yards on three plays, setting up a Matt Rinehart punt. That
punt never made it to the line of scrimmage.
Miami defensive lineman Austin Brown breached the line of scrimmage
and blocked Rinehart's kick. Linebacker Evan Harris scooped
up the loose ball and returned it 18 yards for a 24-14 Miami lead.
"We just had missed assignments," said Kent State safety Brian Lainhart, Rinehart's personal protector on the play. "They
were just in field defense and we had a missed assignment."
Down two scores, Kent State's offense finally got in sync.
The Flashes drove 60 yards in nine plays and cut Miami's lead to 24-21
when Keith scrambled into the end zone from nine yards out.
Miami's Trevor Cook added a 21-yard field goal with 3:32 left
Again, the Flashes responded.
Dri Archer returned the kickoff to the KSU 44. After a failed wide
receiver option-pass, Keith hit Tyshon Goode for 24 yards, ran for
10 and again found Goode at the Miami 10 for 25 yards on third-and-18.
The Flashes moved to the Miami 7 before Keith scrambled to his right on second-and-goal
and threw the ball up for grabs in the back of the end zone. Miami safety Anthony Kokal picked off the pass and the RedHawks ran out the clock.
"The two interceptions (Keith) threw, one he was trying to throw away
early in the game and just didn't get it far enough out of bounds," Martin
said. "The last one was just mentally an error. It's second down,
you don't have to have that play right there.
"That's why the two interceptions that Spencer threw were so frustrating.
One was on first down from the 40-yard line, 30-yard line going in. The other
one was on second down. That's the Cardinal rule. You don't turn
the ball over on a first or second down interception."
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