October 30, 2009

Terry shines on, off the field

If Kent State head coach Doug Martin had the ability to create the perfect football player, the result likely would look a lot like sophomore running back Jacquise Terry.

"If you wanted the perfect model of the student-athlete, this is it," said Martin of Terry. "He's had the highest grade point average on our football team the last two years and it's been a 4.0. I'm not real smart but I think that's about as high as you can get."

Terry, who has rushed for over 100 yards in three of the four games he has started at running back, also leads the team with 482 rushing yards on just 94 carries, an average of 5.1 yards per carry. He's tied for the team lead with three touchdowns.

After rushing for 170 yards in 10 games as a freshman, Terry was moved to wide receiver, where the coaches hoped to use his combination of speed and athleticism. Injuries at the running back position forced Terry back to the backfield, where he has started the last four games. The Golden Flashes are 3-1 with Terry at running back this season.

"I don't know that he's really surprised us because we really thought that he could do this all along," Martin said. "Not only is he a great athlete, but he carries himself well. He's a good leader. He's a good person."

Those traits have helped Terry settle in quickly as the Golden Flashes starting running back.

"In pass protection (before the Ohio game), we changed the running backs protections a little. Most of the time our running backs have a linebacker they're assigned to in pass protection," Martin said. "Ohio was bringing a lot of safety blitzes also. We had Jacquise actually checking the linebacker and before you go out in your route check to see where the safety is pre-snap also. Twice he picked up the safety up on the blitz and other times the safety faked the blitz and dropped and Jacquise still got out in the route."

It's those little details that Terry has mastered that has allowed quarterback Spencer Keith and the rest of the offense to find a groove during Kent State's current two-game win streak.

"Little things like that that are subtle but they're big in a football game," Martin said. "Had he not gotten out in the route, the receiver we threw the ball to would have been covered. Because he got out in the route the linebackers on him, so now you throw the ball behind him to the receiver. All those things are subtle but they're big difference makers."

Last week at Ohio, Terry rushed 31 times for 110 yards, both career highs. With Ohio's physical style of play, it was important for Terry to prove his durability by carrying the load and protecting the football.

"Jacquise did a great job and he took a beating in that game. I guarantee you he's a little sore today," Martin said on Monday. "He proved that he could do it."

Now Terry has to prove he can continue to be productive as the Golden Flashes put their streak, and their season, on the line against Western Michigan on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Dix Stadium.

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