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Kent State football: defense dominates jersey scrimmage

By Ryan Lewis Published: April 20, 2013

Saturday morning was Kent State's annual jersey scrimmage, with the winner getting to wear the home blue jerseys during practice and drills for another year. 

Aside from it being the first time this spring the offense and defense has gone 100 percent against one another, the Flashes had to deal with a bizarre snow flurry that hit midway through the scrimmage. Within about 10 minutes, the field was a thin blanket of white (check out twitter, @RyanLewisABJ, for a picture) and the wind picked up considerably. Then, 45 minutes later, the sun came out and the field was back to green again. 

The story of the game, though, was the defense, which won 50-24 (you get a different amount of points for particular plays, like a sack, and so on). The defensive line, led by three tackles-for-a-loss by Richard Gray, looked particularly impressive. Going forward, head coach Paul Haynes has talked about how he feels the offensive line could be a real strength. At least on this day, they were overmatched by Gray, Chris Fairchild and the rest of the Flashes' front seven. 

An MVP of the scrimmage wasn't named, but cornerback Malcom Pannell would have been the runaway favorite. Pannell returned an interception off quarterback Luke Smurthwaite 29 yards for a touchdown and later blocked a field-goal attempt that was returned for another score by Jamal Roberts. Pannell played most of the day with the second-team, but out of anyone, he probably did the most to play his way into the starting lineup. Darius Polk, who is locked in as the team's No. 1 cornerback, and Kerrick Rhone got the start.

David Fisher missed the scrimmage with an ankle injury but was on the sidelines. Haynes says it isn't too serious, but they'll be cautious with him. With him out, Colin Reardon took all the snaps with the first team and looked pretty good, finishing 8-of-14 for 75 yards and a touchdown. He could really be counted as 8-of-11, as three incomplete passes came during that odd flurry of sideways snow. Chris Humphrey caught two passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Kyle Payton, who delivered a great down-field block during Friday's practice, had three catches for 25 yards. 

Other Notes

Trayion Durham had 10 carries for 25 yards. His numbers were deflated on three carries for no gain inside the 5-yard line. Dri Archer finished with seven carries for 27 yards. 

Wide receiver Josh Boyle left practice with an apparent leg injury after getting tangled up while going for a deep-ball in the end zone. He'll be evaluated over the weekend. Fisher and Boyle might be in a similar position—coming down with an unfortunate injury while their competition, Reardon and Humphrey, continue to play well. 

A ring for Hank

A nice scene took place after practice for the man only known as "Hank" around campus. Hank Dunckel, who's been a passionate and loyal fan of Kent State athletics for nearly four decades, and one who rarely misses a practice, if ever, was awarded with a KSU football championship ring from last season. Only a few minutes after it was tweeted, Josh Cribbs congratulated Hank on Twitter Below is a video. 



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