For the first time in the last few years, the Kent State offense owns bragging rights to the coveted blue jerseys thanks to a 53-34 come-from-behind victory over the Golden Flashes’ defense in Saturday morning’s jersey scrimmage at Dix Stadium.
With a complex point system that awarded a number of varying points for plays such as tackles for loss and forcing the offense into a three-and-out stalled drive, KSU’s defense dominated early with the aid of two fumble recoveries.
“The defense came out strong and I think we caught them off guard a little bit,” said sophomore linebacker Matt Dellinger, who recovered one of the fumbles. “But towards the end, the offense picked up a rhythm and we had some mistakes on the defensive side that led to touchdowns.”
Freshman safety Kevin Bourne’s (Newark Catholic) interception capped the first half and handed the Flashes defense its largest lead of the competition via a 24-4 advantage heading into a brief halftime period.
But with the second half of the contest featuring KSU’s offense setting up in the red zone, a handful of second-half scores sparked a comeback with the offense making up points large chunks at a time.
With quarterbacks David Fisher (senior) and Colin Reardon (sophomore) splitting time equally with the first team offense, Reardon took off on a 12-yard bootleg scamper to the left and into the endzone to spark the offense.
A pitch out to the Flashes speedy Heisman candidate – senior do-it-all Dri Archer – handed the offense another quick score as momentum began to pick up and the tide began to turn in the Gold Team’s favor.
No doubt that particularly satisfying to the KSU coaching staff, was seeing Archer’s score set up by a key block from junior fullback Trayion Durham. The trimmed-down 6-foot-1, 248-pounder has vowed to focus more this season on blocking to help spring Archer - the other half of the Flashes 1,000-yard duo - more this year.
Battling with sophomore kicker/punter Anthony Melchiori (Aurora) for short-kick duties for the upcoming season, freshman kicker Brad Miller tapped in a 25-yard field goal, followed by a seven-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Julian Durden that gave the offense its first lead of the scrimmage.
Moving inside the 5-yard line, the Flashes offense punched in three late scores beginning with a handoff to Durham that he rumbled into the endzone. Fisher put his scrambling ability on display next by eluding a handful of defenders while he rolled to his left and lofted a touchdown pass to senior tight end Tim Erjavec.
The offense’s late scoring display was capped by a 1-yard plunge into the endzone by junior running back Anthony Meray.