Key returnees will lead the way for Flashes Print E-mail
Written by Evan Meyer   
Monday, August 23 2010
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He's baaaaaack!!! The NCAA granted running back Eugene Jarvis another year of eligibility.
Last September, when he lost his star player to a season-ending injury, Kent State Head Coach Doug Martin told anyone who would listen that the Golden Flashes would have a winning record and would play in a bowl game. A three-game winning streak in October moved KSU into position with a 5-4 overall record and 4-2 MAC mark. However, a loss to arch-rival Akron started a three-game slide that sent the Flashes to a 5-7 record (4-5 MAC) for their seventh losing season in the last eight.

As the 2010 season approaches, Martin will again begin his seventh season with high hopes. One reason is the return of sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith. After averaging just 19.2 points and 327.9 yards per game in 2009, KSU is set a quarterback for the first time in many seasons,

After trying to find out who would be the best fit for the offense a blend of west coast and the spread, Martin decided on the native of Little Rock, Arkansas. Keith completed 57.1 percent of his passes for 2,147 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. He was at the helm for KSU road victories at Eastern Michigan and Ohio, along with a big home win over Western Michigan before separating his shoulder in the loss at Temple.

We knew (that) mentally he would pick things up quickly. He has great anticipation of people coming open, Martin said.

The running game will be led by Eugene Jarvis. The native of Pittsburgh started 2009 strong with 167 rushing yards, but he suffered a kidney injury against Boston College and was out for the remainder of the season.

Martin and the school petitioned the NCAA to give Jarvis another year of eligibility. The request was granted, and Jarvis will return to serve as team captain for a fourth consecutive season.  Getting him back was a huge lift for us, Martin said.

The absence of Jarvis gave some other runners a chance to shine in 09. Junior Jacquise Terry led the Flashes in rushing with 649 yards and sophomore Dri Archer contributed 246 yards. Terry can also be used out of the backfield on pass routes as he caught 17 passes for 205 yards last year.

The receiving corps will be led by sophomore Tyshon Goode, who paced KSU with 53 receptions for 755 yards and five touchdowns. Look for WR Anthony Bowman and Kendrick Pressley, along with TE Justin Thompson, who is coming back from an ACL injury, to be the key targets for Keith this season.

The wildcard in the passing game could be wide receiver Sam Kirkland who caught just 25 passes for 254 yards but really stepped his game up during the spring workouts.

He (Kirkland) had some games last year where he was incredible.   He was just inconsistent but coming into this year he is everything we imagined he could be, Martin said

The offensive line is led by junior center Chris Anzevino, but after that they are young - especially at the tackle position with sophomores Brian Winters on the left and Kent Cleveland on the right.

The Kent State defense allowed 22.4 points and 356.6 yards per contest last year, but defensive coordinator Pete Restasis has some tools at his disposal. The biggest one is senior free safety Brian Lainhart.

The native of Cincinnati led the MAC last season with seven interceptions. He also had 87 total tackles (52 solos), along with four passes defended and four forced fumbles en route to First Team All MAC honors.

Lainart comes into this season with 15 career interceptions - the leader among active players in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Since the day he got on camps. He has made plays, Restatis said of Lainhart.

The defensive line will be led by senior Quinton Rainey who had 29 tackles - 11 of which were for losses - last season. Look for senior Zach Williams to also be more of a force along the line this season.

Linebackers are led by senior Cobrani Mixon. The transfer from Michigan led the Flashes last season with 107 total tackles (62 solo).

The Golden Flashes also have experience on the outside in Monte Simmons and Doran Wood. Look for sophomore Luke Batton to step in and be a significant contributor in 2010.

The secondary, after Lainhart, has experience in junior CB Josh Pleasant, who had 11 pass breakups and 73 tackles last season, along safety Dan Hartman. The senior had 72 tackles, four interceptions and nine pass breakups a season ago.

Special teams are led by Bowman, who averaged 22 yards per kickoff return last season, and punter Nate Rinehart, who averaged 40 yards per kick. Placekicker Freddy Cortez made 13-of-19 field goals a season ago and enters 2010 looking to add a few long range scores..

The schedule opens with FCS member Murray State out of the Ohio Valley Conference before three straight road games at Boston College, Penn State, and Miami.

The annual battle with Akron for the Wagon Wheel is set for October 9 at Dix Stadium, but then its back on the road for visits to Toledo and Bowling Green.

The Ball State game on October 30th starts a stretch in which KSU will play four of the final five games at home, including Temple and Ohio two popular choices for MAC East title honors in 2009.

The Golden Flashes have come close to breaking through for a winning season and run for the Eastern Division title. Will it happen in 2010? Only time and experience will tell.


Last Updated ( Monday, August 23 2010 )
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