The Kent State Golden Flashes saw their record fall to 0-5 last Saturday as they returned to Mid-American Conference play with a gritty 17-14 loss at Northern Illinois.
The Flashes trailed 17-3 midway through the third quarter before closing to within three points midway through the final period. The Blue and Gold could not get any closer, however, and fell short -- literally – with a desperate 56-yard field goal attempt on KSU’s final drive.
Kent State now returns to Dix Stadium for back-to-back home tilts.The first pits two winless teams against each other. It’s the second straight such meeting for UMass, which collapsed in the second half of a 42-41 loss to Miami last Saturday.
KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES (0-5, 0-2 MAC)
LAST TIME OUT:
October 4 at Northern Illinois -- a 17-14 loss. The Flashes fell behind 17-3 midway in the third quarter before staging a comeback starting with a 27-yard field goal from Anthony Melchiori, his second of the game, late in the period. KSU drew still closer in the fourth quarter on QB Colin Reardon’s two-yard run for a touchdown. The subsequent two-point conversion on a pass from Reardon to TE Casey Pearce closed the deficit to 17-14 with 7:15 remaining in regulation.
On the Flashes next possession, they moved from their own 39 to the NIU 39. However, Melchiori’s 56-yard field goal attempt was short with 2:15 remaining. The Huskies took possession and ran out the clock.
Reardon finished the afternoon 20-of-36 passing for 244 yards. RB Nick Holley led the ground game with 48 yards on 13 carries. WR Chris Humphrey led the receivers with five catches for 58 yards.
Defensively, DB Nick Holley again was stellar with 16 total tackles (four solo) with a tackle for loss. He was named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week.
ON THE YEAR:
Offensively, Kent State is averaging 10.8 points and 261 yards per game…QB Colin Reardon is the leader of the offense and has completed 54.9 percent of his passes (96/175) for 1,036 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions…Sophomore RB Nick Holley leads the ground game with 171 yards on 52 carries… while senior WR Chris Humphrey leads the receivers with 20 catches for 222 yards (KSU has four players with 10 or more receptions)…Defensively, the Flashes are allowing 33.6 points and 462.2 yards per game…The 17 points allowed last week at NIU was their fewest of the season…Sophomore DB Nate Holley leads the MAC with 72 total tackles (46 solo), a forced fumble, two blocked kicks and a tackle for loss…The special teams are led by Anthony Melchiori, who does both the punting (averaging 45.3 yards per kick) and place kicking (4/7 on field goals and a perfect 4/4 on PATs)
Kent State is 0-5 for the first time since 2000. The Flashes Both MAC contests resulted in 17-14 KSU losses – first to Ohio in Week One and then to Northern Illinois last Saturday. In between, Kent State fell to South Alabama (20-13, No. 22 Ohio State (66-0) and Virginia (45-13).
The upcoming game with the Minutemen is the first of two straight at home for KSU. The Flashes will face Army next Saturday for homecoming and then close out the month of October with a road game at Miami.
NOTES & QUOTES:
The Kent State offense had its best game statistically gaining 327 yards (with 83 net rushing yards) against NIU…Nate Holley is third in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 14.4 tackles per game and second in solo shots with 9.2…In his 16 career games with the Flashes, Colin Reardon has passed for 2,993 yards…Anthony Melchiori is 13th in the FBS averaging 45.3 yards per punt…Chris Humphrey in his KSU career has 97 catches for 1154 yards
THE SERIES: The game is the first ever between the two schools
MASSACHUSETTS MINUTEMEN (0-6, 0-2 MAC)
LAST TIME OUT:
October 4 at Miami – a 42-41 loss. UMass squandered a 41-14 second quarter lead as the home standing RedHawks staged a miraculous comeback to end a 21-game losing streak overall (13 in MAC play).
QB Andrew Hendrix scored on a one-yard run with 2:38 left in regulation. UMass got the ball back with 1:13 remaining and moved the ball to the MU six. With no timeouts and three seconds left, UMass disdained a spike play, electing instead to go with a pass in the flat. The pass was complete but the play came up two yards short as time expired.
QB Blake Frohnapfel completed 35-of-62 passes for 389 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. RB Shadrach Abrokwah had 128 yards rushing with a score, while Tajae Sharpe registered nine receptions for 154. Defensively, DB Randall Jette had 10 total tackles (eight solo) with a pair of pass breakups.
ON THE YEAR:
The Minutemen offensively are averaging 35 points and 396.3 yards per game…QB Blake Frohnapfel, a graduate student transfer from Marshall is the leader of the UMass offense as he is completing 54 percent of his passes (134/248) for 1,860 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions…Sophomore Shadrach Abrokwah leads the ground game with 165 yards on 39 carries following his 128 yard effort against MU…Junior WR Tajae Sharpe leads the receiving corps with 41 catches for 678 yards…Defensively, UMass is allowing 40.3 points and 497.3 yards per game…Junior LB Jovan Santos-Knox leads the defense with 67 total tackles (23 solo) second in the MAC to KSU’s Nate Holley with a sack, four tackles for losses, three quarterback hits, three pass breakups and three passes defended.
During the summer, UMass informed the MAC it was leaving the conference after this current football season.
The Minutemen also made a coaching change , bringing back former UMass HC Mark Whipple, who guided the Minutemen to a national title (1998) in their 1-AA days. Whipple has since been with the Miami Hurricanes on the collegiate level and also was an assistant in the NFL (Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers) …Four of the six UMass losses this year have been heartbreakers: Colorado by three, at Vanderbilt by three (where they missed at field goal at the end), Bowling Green by five in a shootout. Finally, there was the one-point loss to Miami.
Following the tilt with the Flashes, UMass plays three of their final five games in Gillette Stadium, starting next Saturday against Eastern Michigan
NOTES & QUOTES:
Even though they are winless, the Minutemen have lost four games by a total of 12 points including the one-point loss last week at Miami…UMass starts games off strong as they have outscored the opposition 42-19 in the first quarter and have scored 107 of their 166 total points in the game’s first 30 minutes…Blake Frohnapel has passed for almost 1,000 yards over the last two games (against MU and Bowling Green) and is eighth in the FBS in both touchdowns and passing yards..The Minutemen are one of two teams to have played their four non-conference games against teams from the Power Five -- the other being Louisiana-Monroe (Sun Belt).