September 28, 2008

All in the Cards

Minutes after falling 41-20 at Ball State, Kent State football coach Doug Martin said he saw the team to beat in the Mid-American Conference.

"We played a really good football team today," Martin said. "I think Ball State has a really well-coached team with a lot of weapons, particularly on offense, and they have a really good defense too."

The first drive was just the precursor to the rest of the game. Kent State moved the ball down to the Ball State 30-yard line, but junior kicker Nate Reed missed a 48-yard field goal wide left.

Ball State then scored on 2-yard run by junior MiQuale Lewis. The run capped off a 12-play, 70-yard drive. The Cardinals made it 14-0 when junior quarterback Nate Davis hit wide receiver Myles Trempe for a 31-yard touchdown.

One of the top quarterbacks in the country, Davis went 23-35 for 265 yards.

While Ball State, a team averaging nearly 40 points a game, put touchdowns on the board, Kent State suffered through under thrown and dropped passes, missed tackles, missed field goals and five penalties.

"It was tough because we knew points were going to be crucial," Martin said. "We missed the one field goal, and Nate is a good enough kicker to make that, and we had two drives that were 11 or more plays and we didn’t get any points off it. That’s always a tough situation when you have that happen. I thought our kids handled it well but it was a big difference in the game."

After pinning the Flashes down inside the 7, Kent State moved to midfield and Edelman hit Shawn Bayes for 38 yards. After losing two on a run, Edelman scrambled 12 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Cardinals lead to just 14-7.

But Ball State had 11 touchdown drives of less than three minutes entering the game, and the momentum shifted for good when Ball State freshman Torieal Gibson returned the ensuing kickoff 66 yards to set up a Lewis one-yard run for a touchdown just seven plays later.

"If we could have got it to 14-7 at halftime that would have been a big momentum builder because we had to kick to them to start the second half," Martin said. "You knew that was going to be tough too, so that was a big play."

Ball State opened the second half with a 67-yard scoring drive and the Flashes never caught up.

In his second game replacing Eugene Jarvis, Andre Flowers carried the ball 6 times for 30 yards. Freshman Jacquise Terry carried the ball 9 times for 50 yards. Edelman led the Flashes with 18 carries for 103 yards.

After last week, Martin said the real season starts with Saturday’s Mid-American Conference opener, he reminded his players that they could see the Cardinals again this season.

"We just played a really good football team," Martin said. "In my opinion this team is going to be really hard to keep out of the MAC championship on the west side. If our guys want to play them again they still have that opportunity and it starts this Saturday against Akron.

"If we can go out and take care of our side of the conference and take care of winning at home and hang in there, we can get another shot at Ball State. That’s what’s in front of us. That was our first conference game and we got our rival coming in and we need to get back to work."

That game against Akron starts at noon Saturday at Dix Stadium.

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