KENT, OHIO – The Ohio Bobcats rebounded from a loss last week to Eastern Michigan by scoring two first-half touchdowns, then making them stand up to defeat the Kent State Golden Flashes 14-10 Saturday afternoon at Dix Stadium.
It was the Cats fourth win overall in the last five games and kept Ohio (5-3, 3-1 MAC) in a first-place tie with Akron in the Eastern Division. The Zips won at Ball State.
“It was a tough, physical game.” Bobcats head coach Frank Solich said. “Both teams . . .
ANOTHER CLOSE LOSS
Kent State (2-6, 1-3) suffered a second straight narrow loss and has lost its three MAC games so far this season by a total of 12 points.
“It is a disappointing loss.” Golden Flashes head man Paul Haynes said. “We knew it would be a tough game. Our guys played hard and fought like crazy. We just did not have it at the end to win the game.”
The visitors from Athens dented the scoreboard midway through the first quarter after stopping Kent State on a fourth-and-one at midfield.
Two plays later, junior RB Dorian Brown ran off the right side and down the sideline for a 49-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Ohio lead. Brown had 110 yards rushing on the day.
The Bobcats would double their lead to 14-0 in the second quarter. Redshirt freshman Quinton Maxwell engineered a 12-play, 81-yard drive, with the big play coming on a third down from the KSU 34. Maxwell was flushed out of the pocket and threw down the sideline, WR Sebastian Smith made a fantastic catch for 34 yards down to the Flashes 15. In his first collegiate start, Maxwell completed 11-of-19 passes for 127 yards.
The ‘Cats had a chance to increase their lead late in the period when Irons broke through on a 60-yard run before he was caught from behind at the KSU six. Then the Flashes defense, however, closed the door when Kevin Bourne recovered an Irons fumble.
KENT STATE CLOSES GAP
The fumble started a shift in momentum toward KSU and its offense finally got moving. Junior QB Nick Holley used his legs and arm, like he has done since being named the starter in the Akron game, moving the Flashes down to the Ohio five. It was a 17-play drive when the Bobcats defense stiffened. Sophomore PK Shayne Hynes came on for a 22-yard field goal to make the score 14-3 at halftime.
Kent State got the ball to begin the third quarter and again put together a 17-play drive. This one went 75 yards and used over eight minutes of the clock as the offense converted in four third-down situations and once on fourth down. Holley scored the touchdown on a quarterback draw to make the score 14-10.
Holley, a junior running back before his position conversion, led all rushers in the game with 159 yards on 41 trips. It was the most carries by a Kent State player since 1996. He also completed 12-of-29 passes for 101 yards.
Neither team, in fact, was able to put any more points on the board. The fourth quarter was scoreless as both defenses prevailed.
The Flashes golden chance to win the game came with 5:17 remaining as Ohio’s Pepi White fumbled a Derek Adams punt and Ernest Calhoun recovered for KSU at the Ohio 11.
However, the Bobcats defense came up with its biggest defensive stand of the game. When the Flashes faced a third down at the four when standout linebacker Quentin Poling sacked Nick Holley for a three-yard loss.
The fourth down pass attempt fell incomplete as Holley was under pressure while eventually trying to hit tight end Bryce Fackler in the back of the end zone.
Maxwell and the offense took the ball over on downs, grounding out three first downs, to end the game. It was Ohio’s third consecutive victory over KSU.
The Bobcats will have a short week as they travel to Toledo on Thursday to battle the Rockets. Kent State will go north to Central Michigan to face the Chippewas.