By EVEN MEYER
After securing their first victory of the season with a win over Army, the Kent State Golden Flashes returned to the loss column a week later with a 10-3 loss at Miami.
The Blue and Gold have four games remaining in the season. Each one is a task onto itself, beginning Tuesday night at Dix Stadium where they battle the Toledo Rockets. UT leads the MAC Western Division and is the lone unbeaten team in conference play.
LAST TIME OUT:
The Flashes fizzeled October 25 at Miami, losing 10-3.
The game in Oxford was a defensive affair. MU opened scoring late in the first quarter on a 19-yard run by senior QB Andrew Hendrix. It would be the only touchdown for either side in the entire game.
KSU managed to get on the scoreboard late in the second quarter when PK Anthony Melchiori connected on a 28-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Hawks raised their advantage back to seven points when PK Kaleb Patterson made a 41-yard field goal for a 10-3 score. That would be the final points of the game.
Early in the fourth quarter, Melchiori missed a 30-yard field goal attempt. Then on their final drive, KSU reached the Miami 21-yard line. Facing a fourth and one, ran for the first down and failed to convert. MU took possession on downs and ran out the clock.
Sophomore QB Colin Reardon completed 21-of-39 passes for 201 yards and an interception. Fellow sophomore, RB Nick Holley, led the ground game with 48 yards on 11 carries. Senior TE Casey Pierce paced the receivers with six catches for 62 yards. Defensively, sophomore DB Nate Holley again led that unit with 10 total tackles (four solo)
ON THE YEAR:
Offensively, KSU is averaging 14.1 points and 299.8 yards per game…QB Colin Reardon is the leader of the offense, and he has completed 56.3 percent of his passes (166 of 295) for 1,788 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions…Sophomore RB Nick Holley leads the ground attack with 305 yards on 99 carries…Senior TE Casey Pierce leads the receiving corps with 34 catches for 376 yards and three touchdowns (KSU has four players with more than 20 and seven with more than 10 receptions so far this season…The defense is led by sophomore DB Nate Holley (brother of Nick) with 101 total tackles (59 solo) which leads the MAC…DB Milton Pannel leads the team with two interceptions…The special teams are led by Anthony Melchiori, who does both the punting and the place kicking. He is averaging 45.1 yards per punt and is 10 of 16 on field goals while going 9 of 10 on PATs.
Kent State is 1-7 (1-3 at home)…The Flashes went winless in their first six games this season for the first time since 1998 (0-3 on the road)… They opened the 2014 campaign at home coming back from a 14-7 deficit to tie Ohio 14-14 with 3:34 remaining -- only to see the Bobcats hit a 44-yard field goal on the final play of the game and take the game away, 17-14…That was the closest the Flashes got to a victory until their win over Army (39-17) October 18.…After their meeting with the Rockets (the first of four night games to close the season), KSU hits the road to Bowling Green. It then travels to Buffalo before ending the season with arch-rival Akron at home
NOTES & QUOTES:
QB Colin Reardon moved into sixth place on the all-time career completions list with 352. He is seventh on the career passing yards list with 3,745 and tied for seventh in career touchdown passes with 20..The offensive line has allowed just one sack in its last four games…Senior WR Chris Humphrey moved into eighth place on the all-time receptions list with 109…Anthony Melchiori is 11th in the Football Bowl Subdivision averaging 45.1 yards per punt…Nick Holley is third in the FBS in total tackles averaging 12.6 stops per game and fourth in solo tackles, averaging 7.4 per contest…KSU is 0-1 in night games so far this season (17-14 to Ohio August 30th)
The game is the 45th lifetime between the two schools, with the Rockets holding a narrow 23-21 edge…They have not played each other since October 16, 2010 at the Glass Bowl, with UT prevailing 34-21…This is the 22nd lifetime game in Kent with the Flashes holding a 16-5 advantage including their last win in the series October 14, 2006 at Dix Stadium, 40-14
TOLEDO ROCKETS (5-3, 4-0 MAC WEST)
LAST TIME OUT:
The Rockets defeated Massachusetts Oct6. 25 at home, 42-35…The Rockets came back from a 21-6 second quarter deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter, only to see the Minutemen tie the score with under six minutes remaining. However, UT got the winning score as freshman RB Terry Swanson scored from 19 yards out to escape with the victory and remain unbeaten in MAC play at 4-0.
Sophomore RB Kareem Hunt who missed the previous three games with a high ankle sprain rushed for a career-high 199 yards and a touchdown. QB Logan Woodside completed 20-of-34 passes for 225 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Defensively, senior LB Junior Sylvestre led three defenders with six total tackles each. By the time the scoreboard clock hit triple zeroes, the two teams combined for 77 points and 1,017 yards of total offense.
ON THE YEAR:
In its eight games of 2014, Toledo is averaging 35 points and 505.1 yards per game offensively (leading the MAC in both categories).
Kareem Hunt leads the team in rushing with 725 yards on 85 carries with eight touchdowns. His 145 yard per game average also paces the MAC.
QB Logan Woodside, who came into replace Melvin Ely (season ending knee injury at Missouri) has completed 61 percent of his passes (124 of 203) for 1,489 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Sophomore WR Corey Jones leads the receivers with 53 catches (tied for third in the MAC) for 602 yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively, senior LB Junior Sylvestre leads with 69 total tackles (37 solo) while junior DE Trent Voss and DT Orion Jones have four sacks each…The special teams are led by senior PK Jeremiah Detmer, who 12 of 15 on field goals and 32 of 33 on PAT. Sophomore Nick Ellis is averaging 36.2 yards per punt
UT was the preseason favorite to win the Western Division…The Rockets started the season strong with an emphatic win over New Hampshire (FCS) before two straight losses at home to Missouri (where they lost starting QB Melvin Ely for the season with a knee injury) and then at Cincinnati.
Toledo opened MAC play with three consecutive wins, downing Ball State, Central Michigan, and (at) Western Michigan before falling at Iowa State. UT followed that setback with the win over UMass.
Toledo closes the season with three of their final four games on the road (starting with KSU). The Rockets also head to Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan. Their only home game is November 19 against arch-rival Bowling Green in a battle for possession of the I-75 trophy.
NOTES AND QUOTES:
Toledo is 4-0 in MAC play for the fourth time in the last five seasons and needs one more victory to become bowl eligible…UT has had 15 different players catch at least one pass so far this season... The Rockets have rushed for 200 or more yards in seven of their eight games in 2014…Toledo has gained 500 or more yards in total offense four times so far this season (including the 520 they compiled against UMass).