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October 14, 2006

Golden Flashes defend their turf

If the chance to go 4-0 in conference play for the first time since Kent State joined the Mid-American Conference wasn't enough motivation for the Golden Flashes in a key conference game against Toledo, than they got all the fuel they would need when the Rockets danced on the KSU logo at midfield before the start of the game.

"The worst mistake Toledo made was coming in and jumping on our logo before the game and then calling our kids out before the game because we answered," said Kent State head coach Doug Martin. "Pretty soon people are going to quit treating us that way; we're going to make them. The best thing we did was defend the stadium today. All the credit goes to our players. They took game plans on both sides (of the ball) and executed them very well."

The Golden Flashes didn't just defend Dix Stadium, they posted a 'Beware of Dog' sign warning all future visitors of the viciousness of its protectors. Kent State easily cruised to a 40-14 victory in front of a Homecoming crowd of 20,212.

"If our guys weren't motivated before that they were afterwards, I can tell you that," Martin said. "We came in after the pre-game warm-up and they were ready to scrimmage."

Kent State started the game with a four play, 66-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard run by quarterback Julian Edelman and the Golden Flashes added another first quarter score when running back Eugene Jarvis scored from two yards out.

About the only thing that went wrong for the Golden Flashes occurred on special teams as Toledo blocked the first two extra points of the game.

"I'd like to be able to kick an extra point and a field goal," Martin said about the special teams troubles. "We're still struggling there. Our kicking game has been really good in all other facets, but that was disappointing to get two of those blocked and they both got blocked right up the middle and that wasn't on the kicker; that was on us up front."

Jarvis, who ran for a career high 187 yards on 31 carries, added a 4-yard touchdown run with 5:40 remaining in the first half and Jack Williams picked off an Aaron Opelt pass, his second of the game, and raced 44-yards for another KSU score and a 26-0 lead at the half.

"That's all on (Andre Kirkland)," Williams said of his interception. "He told me the routes, so I've got to give it to him. He told me what route was coming and I just jumped it. The quarterback audibled and he told me the routes. I give all the credit to Andre."

Kirkland, who recorded a game-high 11 tackles, was more than happy to help his teammate.

"Throughout the week me and Jack try to watch film together because we play on the same side, the boundary side," Kirkland said. "We try to watch film together as much as possible. On the play (Opelt) audibled and most likely when he audibled that type of audible it was going to be a three-step so I turned around and told Jack it was going to be a three-step, go ahead and pick it and obviously he did."

Kent State added to its lead in the third quarter when Edelman hit Najah Pruden in the end zone from 5-yards out and Jarvis scored on a 3-yard run in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring for the Golden Flashes.

The Golden Flashes' defense did its part too. Toledo was limited to just 234 yards of total offense and four of the Rockets' 13 possessions ended with a punt, four on a turnover and the Rockets turned it over on downs three times.

"We have great team speed on defense," Martin said. "Even when we make a mistake we can make up for it because of the speed factor, particularly in the back end. We did a good job of giving their quarterback some different looks and disguising things and got some pressure on him. Once they couldn't run the ball, it put it all in his hands and that was the answer for us."

The victory improves Kent State's record to 5-2, 4-0 in the MAC. The Golden Flashes will take the week off before hosting Ohio University on Oct. 28. Toledo falls to 2-5, 0-3. The Rockets travel to Eastern Michigan next Saturday.


The Golden Flashes improved to 4-0 to start MAC play for the first time in their history

Kent State's victory was it's first over Toledo since a 14-13 win in 1991

The Golden Flashes' Homecoming victory was its first since a 35-13 win over Buffalo in 2001


The Golden Flashes went over 200 yards rushing for the third time this season, posting a season-high 270 yards

Eugene Jarvis' (pictured) 179 rushing yards were the most by a Kent State running back since Charles Chatman rushed for 257 yards against Central Michigan Oct. 25, 1997

"Actually I think that was a career high for me ever," Jarvis said. "I think in high school I got about 15, high of maybe 20, so this was a career high for me."

Julian Edelman rushed for a touchdown and passed for a touchdown for the fifth consecutive game, a feat that even Kent State-great Joshua Cribbs never accomplished

"(He) makes you a good coach,"Martin said. "I haven't seen anybody win the Kentucky Derby with a jackass yet, it always takes a thoroughbred. We've got a thoroughbred."

Najah Pruden recorded his 100th career reception in the first quarter


The Golden Flashes' defense held an opponent to 17 points or less for the sixth straight game

"We're playing great team defense is really what we're doing right now," Martin said. "We've got guys making plays at all sorts of positions and we're playing a lot of guys on defense, it's not just the starting eleven. We're probably playing close to 22 guys on defense right now throughout a game. I'm really proud of our kids, I thought they handled the week really well. They had a great week of practice and they had a great look in their eye and they have begun a tradition of defending Dix Stadium."

The Golden Flashes' defense has racked up 23 sacks in its last five games

Daniel Muir had 1.5 sacks, moving into fifth place on the school's all-time list with 14

Jack Williams' interception return for a touchdown was the second of his career, the other being a 99-yard return at Iowa, Sept. 4, 2004. Williams is now tied for 10th place all-time at KSU with nine career interceptions

"That's motivation," Williams said about Toledo's pre-game antics. "That's like somebody coming in your house and putting their feet on your coffee table. That's disrespectful."

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