Kent State rebounded this week after a tough loss to Bowling Green last week. The Golden Flashes came and out scored Eastern Michigan 14-0 in the second half to post a solid 28-6 win. Kent State recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and that led to a one yard touchdown pass from Spencer Keith to Jon Simpson. Kent State came up with a goal line stand in the second quarter to keep a 14-6 lead. Leneric Muldrow threw a touchdown pass in the second half to Kendrick Pressley for his second TD pass of the season.
Keith finished 10-24 for 164 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Jacquise Terry led the ground game with 79 yards on 18 carries.
Tyshon Goode caught three passes for 75 yards, including a 48 yard TD.
Kent State will travel to Athens next week for a key MAC East showdown with Ohio.
KSU Head Coach Doug Martin:
“This was a character check for our football team coming off a really tough loss last week. Our deal was to be emotionally ready to play, and I think our team did that from the opening kickoff to the end of the game. Our defense had a tremendous goal line stand.
“We got ourselves back with an opportunity to have a very meaningful game next week. So I’m really proud of our players and our coaches. They really responded this week.”
Kent State got just the momentum they were looking for to start the game when they recovered the opening kickoff after an Eastern Michigan fumble. For a team trying to recover from a devastating loss the previous week, the takeaway was a perfect start to the game. KSU cashed it in with an eight play, 38 yard drive that concluded on a Spencer Keith to Jon Simpson one yard touchdown pass on a 2nd and goal at the 11:36 mark of the first quarter. “Getting off to a fast start was going to be big for us,” Coach Doug Martin said. “The kickoff team causing the fumble, you couldn’t ask for a better setup than that. Our offense did a nice job of capitalizing on that. That was probably the key to the game right there, the fast start.” Simpson’s touchdown was the third straight game that the Golden Flashes have scored on their opening possession of the game.
GOAL LINE STAND
Another turning point and key moment in the game was the goal line stand that Kent State’s defense administered in the second quarter. After Eastern Michigan had the football at the one yard line with a first and goal, KSU stuffed the Eagles four straight times. On fourth down Quinton Rainey burst into the backfield for a tackle for a loss. “I just told the team, ‘Guys when we have first-and-goal from the 2, and we’re going for it we should be able to make 2 yards,” EMU coach Ron English said. “When you really have a good team, you’re not going to turn down 7 points. You feel like you should score from the 2, and we just have to develop that.”
KEITH ON THE RUN
I don’t think anyone will ever mistake QB Spencer Keith for former KSU QB Julian Edelman anytime soon when it comes to running and athletic ability. But the Little Rock, Arkansas native has shown an ability to make plays down the field with his feet when asked to do so, or if he has to. Several times on Saturday Keith was able to step up and pick up yardage on the ground when his receivers were covered. With Eastern Michigan’s cornerbacks rolled up on the KSU’s receivers, that took away Kent State’s bubble screen game. That meant there was a lot more zone read running plays for Keith to make decisions on, and keep the football on the ground. Keith finished with ten carries for 48 yards.
DEFENSE RESPONDS WELL
Kent State’s defense responded very well on Saturday with a good performance. In addition to the goal line stand, KSU adjusted nicely to EMU’s jet sweep sequence and made it non-effective in the second half. Linebacker Cobrani Mixon and his teammates were motivated from last week’s collapse against Bowling Green. “We didn’t want that to happen again,” said Mixon. “We learned from last week. That’s what you can take from heartbreakers like that. You can learn from it. We talked all week about being like a sledgehammer, and wanting to finish.” Linebacker Dorian Wood led both sides with a career high 13 tackles. Safety Dan Hartman had nine stops and his second career interception. Mixon, Wood and Brian Lainhart all had ten or more tackles. It’s the first time Kent State has had that happen since 2007 at Northern Illinois. KSU held a MAC opponent to six points for the first time since 2006 against Eastern Michigan. It was the second time this season the defense has held an opponent without a touchdown (Coastal Carolina). When Eastern did try to pass, KSU had good pressure on the quarterback all day and finished with two sacks.
Kent State junior wide receiver Leneric Muldrow has become the Golden Flashes’ main man when it comes to running gadget plays. On Saturday, Muldrow threw a 31 yard touchdown pass to a wide open Kendrick Pressley off a reverse pass. Earlier in the season Muldrow threw a touchdown pass to Jameson Konz against Baylor. A former high school quarterback at Rose High School in South Carolina, Muldrow is 2-2 on the season passing for 66 yards and two touchdowns. “I love it, when on Sundays, coach comes in and says ‘Hey, we got a trick play for you,’ ” said Muldrow. “I’m just waiting for the opportunity, and when he gives it to me, I have to make a play.” As the holder on field goals and extra points last season, Muldrow ran for two touchdowns off fake field goals. In 2007 he added another touchdown off a fake field goal. Muldrow has two career touchdown passes, three career rushing touchdowns and three touchdown receptions in his Kent State career.