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October 17, 2010

Flashes crack in Glass Bowl

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Kent State couldn’t have asked for a better start to its game at Toledo on Saturday. The Golden Flashes scored touchdowns on their first two possessions for the first time this season and led by 14 at halftime, but crumbled in the second half as the Rockets scored 27 unanswered points to win, 34-21.

Toledo hasn’t lost to Kent State at the Glass Bowl since 1977.

“Hats off to Toledo, they came out and played much better in the second half than we did,” said Kent State head coach Doug Martin. “It’s just unfortunate that we didn’t compete offensively in the second half as we definitely had things going our way.”

Junior running back Jacquise Terry got the Flashes off to a fast start with two first quarter touchdown runs. Terry rushed for 96 yards in the first half, but ended the game with just 98 on 28 carries.

The Flashes responded to Toledo’s only touchdown of the first half with another scoring drive, again capped by a Terry touchdown run.

Kent State’s three first half scoring drives covered 75, 80 and 41 yards in 8, 12 and 4 plays respectively. In 11 other drives, the Golden Flashes managed to get just one first down, and that came on their final drive of the contest.

Toledo’s coaching staff certainly made the right adjustments at halftime as the Flashes didn’t gain yards on a drive until they started at their own 26 with 5:13 left in the game, trailing by two scores.

“There was a lot of coaching going on at the half and that is what I'm proud of,” said Toledo head coach Tim Beckman. “I thought our coaches did a great job of getting our kids together and figuring out what we were doing wrong and what we needed to improve on. I thought our players met that challenge and came out in the second half and won a football game.”

The Rockets got some help from the Flashes, too.

After Toledo scored to cut Kent State’s lead to 21-14, the Flashes went three-and-out then forced a Toledo punt. But, fifth-year senior Kirk Belgrave was flagged for a dead ball personal foul, which gave the Rockets a first down at Kent State’s 22.

Toledo’s Adonis Thomas scored on the next play to tie the score at 21 with 6:24 left in the third.

“It was huge,” Martin said of the penalty. “It was third down, we’re off the field. (It’s a) lack of poise on our player’s part.”

It was the mental errors that kept the Flashes from competing in the second half.

“They can’t blame (the coaches) for stuff we did in the second half,” said senior linebacker Cobrani Mixon. “We came out game-plan executing in the first half and then we came out flat in the second half. That’s not coaching. That’s the players.”

Despite the vote of confidence from his players, Martin knows the bottom line is it’s the coaches always held responsible for what happens on the field.

“The bottom line is the coaches are the only ones held responsible and that’s the way that will be,” Martin said. “The players can say that all they want, that’s the way it is and coaches know that. We’ve got to do a better job, find a way to help these guys play better because you shouldn’t be able to come out here and have 250 yards of offense in the first half and not get a first down the whole second half. Obviously there’s a reason for that, a lot of mental errors and guys not playing up to their capabilities.”

With Miami’s win at Central Michigan on Saturday, Kent State’s loss effectively ended the already slim chance the Golden Flashes had of competing for a Mid-American Conference East Division title. The Flashes return to action next Saturday when they travel to Bowling Green.

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