OXFORD, OH - Saturdays weather forecast for Oxford, Ohio accurately called for partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-50s. Had there been an equally accurate forecast for the Miami-Kent State football game at Yager Stadium, that forecast would have predicted a perfect storm with a score in the mid-50s.
KSU RB Eugene Jarvis rushed for 4 TDs and 105 yards / Photo: Mike Smith
A number of factors combined Saturday to produce a lopsided 54-21 Kent State victory that thrilled visiting Golden Flashes fans while disappointing a homecoming crowd who witnessed the onslaught.
Kents 54 points were the most ever scored by the Golden Flashes against a Miami team. The total also represented the most points yielded by any RedHawk (or Redskins) team since a 54-3 loss to the other Miami (Florida) Hurricanes in 1987.
What ingredients brought about Saturdays perfect storm?
- An explosive Kent offense that was rested and getting healthy.
- An experienced and mobile Kent quarterback.
- Six turnovers
- A quarterback making his second collegiate start.
- An inability to consistently run the ball early.
Even with two of the leagues most dynamic offensive players available, few could have predicted such a superlative Kent State performance.
We always wanted to be a 30-point (per game) team, said Kent State coach Doug Martin, whose team easily surpassed that goal on this particular Saturday. The defense was giving us lots of turnovers and giving us great field position.
Kent quarterback Julian Edelman did much of the damage. He ran for 158 yards (on 16 carries) and scored a touchdown. Running back Eugene Jarvis, meanwhile, rushed for 105 yards in the game and scored four touchdowns in the second quarter. Overall, Kent racked up 305 net yards on the ground and added 163 yards passing.
Edelman, who ranked third among MAC rushers with an 89 yard per game average entering weekend play, is an elusive runner just the kind of quarterback that has given Miami problems through much of 2008.
Youve got to defend him in a lot of (different) ways, Miami coach Shane Montgomery said. We felt like he is maybe the toughest guy to defend in our league over the last couple years.
|KSU QB Julian Edelman scrambles for some of his career-high 158 yards.
Photo: Mike Smith
To make matters worse for Miami (and better for the Flashes), the RedHawks defensive line was forced into some personnel changes due to injuries. We were really banged up on the defensive line, Montgomery said.
Kent, on the other hand, benefited from the return of Jarvis.
The junior, who led the MAC in total rushing yards (1,669), yards per carry (6.0) and yards per game (139.1) last year, missed games four through six this year due to injury. He saw limited action against Ohio in game seven and then had two weeks to heal before suiting up for Miami.
The more practice I get, the more comfortable Im feeling. It was a good day, Jarvis said.
I knew they would be as close to full strength on offense as they have been (in a while), Montgomery said.
Miami took a 7-3 lead following quarterback Clay Beltons one-yard run and Nathan Parseghians extra point kick at 6:13 of the first quarter. But after punting twice, Kent State kicked it into high gear, scoring touchdowns on four of its next five possessions to take a commanding 31-7 lead.
Miami, itself, was a major contributor to the perfect storm. Providing four lost fumbles and two interceptions to a potentially explosive offense generated much of the energy for Saturdays deluge of Golden Flashes touchdowns.
We gave them a lot of momentum (and) they took a lot of momentum from us, Montgomery said. We only punted once, and I think that was on the first possession . I would say they scored over 30 points on turnovers.
Even a failed fourth down attempt by Miami was turned into Kent State points. Taking over on the 30-yard line with 4:04 remaining before intermission, the Golden Flashes moved 70 yards in eight plays for a TD with 21 seconds left.
According to Martin, the second half hasnt been much to brag about for his 2008 squad. With some help from the hosts, Kent took care of business over the final two quarters Saturday.
Were not a very good second half football team this year, Davis said. That was the difference today. We finished the second half.
Two plays after Miami fumbled on its first drive of the second half, Edelman ran through a huge hole on the right side for a 58-yard touchdown. After another Miami fourth-down play failed on the next drive, Kent moved 60 yards in six plays for another TD. Edelmans 13-yard pass to Leneric Muldrow capped the drive.
When Miami fumbled once more on the next drive, Kent moved 66 yards before Nate Reed kicked a 34-yard field goal to make it a 47-7 game.
Montgomery saw an obvious lesson in the score and another stat. I told our guys after that game that I dont care who we are playing, if you turn the ball over six times, youre not going to win a ball game, and it will get ugly like it did today.
Miami was able to post two late touchdowns the first on a one-yard TD run by Belton and the second on a 13-yard Belton pass to Chris Givens.
It also got another notable performance from freshman running back J.R. Taylor. Although he got just seven yards on five carries in the first half, Taylor finished with 113 yards on 20 carries. Taking over part of the load for injured Thomas Merriweather, Taylor had 127 yards on 18 carries the previous week during a win at Bowling Green.
J.R. is running the ball extremely well, Montgomery said.
Kent State and Miami now have identical 2-6 overall and 1-3 MAC records. Miami will play again Nov. 4 at Buffalo. Kent travels to Bowling Green.
For the Flashes, the challenge is maintaining the level of performance they showed Saturday.
We played like we are capable of playing (today), Martin said. But this is meaningless unless our guys are ready to keep going and see if they can do it again next week.
For the RedHawks, the challenge is to put together more performances like they did at Bowling Green.
It was very disappointing today, considering what we came off last week, Montgomery said. Weve got to realize what a fine line there is between playing really well one week and getting a big win and playing very poorly the next week and getting embarrassed on homecoming. So weve got lot of work to do this week.