Eugene Jarvis and the defense led Kent State to an 18-0 victory over the Chanticleers from Coastal Carolina on Thursday night at Dix Stadium in the opener for both teams. Jarvis was a work horse, rushing for 141 yards on 27 carries. His two punt returns help set up both KSU's touchdowns. The defense was steady, notching Kent State's first shutout since 1994, a span of 163 games.
Kent State’s defense certainly looked impressive on Thursday night. It was the Golden Flashes’ first shutout since October 22, 1994 vs. Ohio, a span of 163 games. It was also only their second shutout since 1976, when KSU defeated Northern Illinois 42-0. Linebacker Cobrani Mixon led the defense with 12 tackles. Brian Lainhart had six tackles and picked off a pass. Monte Simmons had 2.5 tackles for loss and forced two fumbles on the evening. Pressure was applied to Chanticleer QB Zach MacDowall all night. “Kent State did a great job tonight,” MacDowall said. “Their front four did a great job.” “I think we’re a better offensive team than we showed tonight, but I knew coming in Kent State had a pretty darn good defense,” CCU coach David Bennett said. Not only did the defense pitch a shutout, it produced points in the first quarter when Kevin Hogan made a tackle for a loss and a safety. “I thought we had a good game plan going in so we didn’t do anything extraordinary, we just followed what they told us to do,” Mixon said. “They just told us to stay in our gaps. All we had to do was make plays.”
- The interception was the ninth of Lainhart’s career and he tied for 11th among KSU’s career leaders.
- Mixon’s 12 tackles were one short of his career high.
- KSU held an opponent under 200 yards (185) for the first time since the 2007 home opener vs. Delaware State.
- Coastal Carolina was just 2-14 on third down conversions.
VERY SPECIAL TEAMS
The Kent State special teams units had some good and bad moments on Thursday night, but mostly good. First for the bad. Freddy Cortez’s opening kickoff goes out of bounds. Right before halftime Cortez was about to kick his first career field goal, a 22 yarder. Instead, Coastal Carolina’s Josh Norman broke through the middle of the line and blocked the Cortez kick. Dominique Davenport picked up the ball and rumbled to the Kent State 26 yard line with two seconds left in the first half. Coastal’s Justin Durham luckily missed his field goal right before halftime, preserving KSU’s 2-0 lead. Now for the good. Eugene Jarvis set up both KSU touchdowns with a 33 yard punt return and then a 27 yard return. Punter Matt Rinehart was very good. He punted eight times for a 39.8 yard average, including three inside the 20 yard line including a punt that was downed at the one yard line on an athletic play by long snapper Ryan Hidalgo that led to the safety. “We won a game on special teams,” coach Doug Martin said. “I can’t say enough about Coach Vance taking over our special teams. He has done a great job of explaining to our players how important special teams are to take care of the ball.” I’ll admit, when I first heard back in April that Eugene Jarvis might be the team’s primary punt returner this season I was a little skeptical. I thought, ‘Isn’t there someone else on the team that can be effective in that role, and give Jarvis a little break.’ Then I remembered last season, where things got so bad that QB Julian Edelman was back returning punts. I realize a lot of that also had to do with Martin wanting to showcase Edelman a little bit for NFL scouts, but he still didn’t trust anyone else to do it. Anyway, after one game it looks like a very smart move to take your most electric player and your best playmaker and make him your punt returner. Of course, all it will take is one little look of an injury for fans to say, “Why is Jarvis back there?” Jarvis appeared to be injured on a return Thursday night but after the game he said he was fine. All of last season Kent State had 90 punt return yards for the entire season. On Thursday night Jarvis had 77 yards on punt returns. That is an unbelievable statistic.
Freshman Tyshon Goode was a breath of fresh air on Thursday night from the wide receiver position. Goode caught 6 balls for 84 yards, several coming on short screens. Not only did Goode consistently catch the football, he can do something with it after he catches it. Between him. Kendrick Pressley, Derek McBryde and Jameson Konz, the Flashes can really stretch the field and look to have a much improved passing attack this season.