October 25, 2008

Flashes throttle RedHawks

Turnovers, penalties and special teams blunders; sounds like a typical Kent State football game, right?

Wrong. The Golden Flashes picked off Miami quarterback Clay Belton two times and recovered four RedHawks fumbles in a 54-21 victory at Yager Stadium in Oxford. The win was just Kent State's sixth in 28 tries in Oxford since 1944 and just their second since 1988.

"We played like we were capable of playing," said Kent State football coach Doug Martin. "I told the players after the game, one game does not change your image. This is meaningless unless our guys are willing to keep going."

Things started out well for the Flashes, who won the coin toss and elected to receive.

Senior quarterback Julian Edelman threw a 17-yard pass to sophomore Alan Vanderink on first down and junior running back Eugene Jarvis rushed for 27 yards on second down to set the Flashes up at the Miami 24. Junior kicker Nate Reed ended the drive with a 48-yard field goal, his longest of the season.

After the teams traded punts, Miami took possession at the Kent State 33 and five plays later quarterback Clay Belton's 1-yard dive gave the RedHawks a 7-3 lead with 6:13 left in the first quarter.

Then, like Kent State has done so many times this season, the RedHawks self-destructed. Miami turned the ball over on four straight possessions and failed on a fourth down attempt on their fifth drive. The Golden Flashes scored 28 points off the RedHawks' miscues.

"We always wanted to be a 30-point team," said Edelman. "(The) defense was just giving us turnovers and giving us great field position. That's how we got all those points."

First, sophomore defensive back Brian Lainhart picked off his fifth pass of the season, and Jarvis scored on a 1-yard run to give Kent State a 10-7 lead with 14:03 to play in the second quarter. Then, Anthony Mirando recovered a Andre Bratton fumble at the Miami 26. Six plays later, Jarvis dove into the end zone again from 1-yard out for his second touchdown of the day, and a 17-7 KSU lead.

Kirk Belgrave ended another RedHawks drive when he picked off a Belton pass and returned it 8 yards to the Miami 42. That drive stalled at the 40, but Miami's Eugene Harris couldn't handle the punt and Mirando recovered his second fumble of the game, this time at the RedHawks' 7. Jarvis' 1-yard run pushed the Golden Flashes' lead to 24-7 with just under seven minutes remaining in the half.

Miami drove to the Kent State 28, but the RedHawks couldn't convert on 4th-and-2 and the Golden Flashes drove 70 yards in eight plays, capped by Jarvis' 2-yard touchdown run, to take a 31-7 lead into the locker room.

Not much changed in the second half as the RedHawks turned it over two more times and Kent State continued to turn those miscues into points.

"We started off decent and then we turned the ball over," said Miami head coach Shane Montgomery. "I told the guys after the game it doesn't matter who you're playing, if you turn the ball over six times you aren't going to win a game. You've got to give Kent State credit; they did force the fumbles."

Edelman scored on a 58-yard run then threw a 13-yard pass to Leneric Muldrow for another score and Reed booted a 34-yard field goal to close out the third quarter with the Flashes leading, 47-7.

Miami added a couple of fourth quarter touchdowns and back-up quarterback Anthony Magazu added a 3-yard run to close out the scoring.

"This is what we've been trying to get to," Martin said. "Today they saw it, but I had to about have about three aneurysms over the last to weeks in practice to get them to this point."

Edelman ran for a career-high 158 yards in the win, but he's more interested in seeing the Flashes win back-to-back games next week.

"There's an old saying my dad told me," Edelman said. " Once is luck, twice is skill. Hopefully we can go out and do it next week with Bowling Green."

Jarvis added 105 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Lainhart led the defense with 10 tackles, an interception and he forced and recovered a fumble.


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