November 27, 2009

Offensive Failures Doom Flashes

KENT, Ohio - Kent State's defense did all it could to beat Buffalo. But, the Golden Flashes' offense failed to do its part as the Bulls ended the Flashes' season with a 9-6 win at Dix Stadium on Friday.

The Kent State defense gave up just three field goals and forced four Buffalo turnovers, but with freshman quarterback Spencer Keith on the sidelines, the Golden Flashes' offense never got things going. Keith was injured in the third quarter of last week's game at Temple.

"Our players battled hard and right now we're just not healthy enough offensively to produce points," said Kent State head coach Doug Martin. "Our players battled hard and we did just about as good as you can do with the cards that we've been dealt. I'm really proud of they way our players fought, they fought really hard and you can't ask for any more than that."

Three times Kent State started with the ball in Buffalo territory and each time the Golden Flashes punted from behind the original line of scrimmage. With 10:34 left in the second quarter the Flashes began a drive at the Bulls' 42. A third down sack forced the Flashes to punt from the Buffalo 43.

Then, with 50 seconds left in the half, linebacker Cobrani Mixon returned a fumble to the Buffalo 46. An offensive pass interference penalty and a sack forced the Flashes to punt from their own 39.

And finally, with 9:19 left in the third quarter, Leneric Muldrow returned a punt to the Bulls' 41, but a personal foul on first down and a second down sack again pushed the Flashes back into their own territory and they punted the ball from their own 39.

"For a time when we had Spencer up and running we were as good as an offensive football team that there was in this conference, when we were beating Western Michigan and the teams we beat," Martin said. "Again, it just makes everything so disjointed when you lose that quarterback."

Kent State's struggles were compounded when the Flashes committed several penalties in clutch situations. The Golden Flashes committed nine penalties for 80 yards, while the Bulls were flagged just two times for 15 yards.

"Offensively, one other time, I know we had great field position and had two penalties back-to-back that cost us," Martin said. "You can't do those things."

Despite their offensive woes, the Golden Flashes were in the game all the way up until Buffalo's A.J. Principe booted his third field goal of the game, a 22-yarder with just five seconds left in the game.

The Bulls' final drive covered 63 yards in 11 plays. A personal foul for "grabbing the opening of the helmet" aided the Bulls in their march to victory.

"When you hold somebody to nine points you should win the football game," Martin said. "That's not the defense giving up that last drive. Our problem was the offense's inability to score."

Sophomore Josh Pleasant led Kent State with 12 tackles and three pass break-ups. Danny Hartman and Brian Lainhart each picked off a pass and Mixon and Dana Brown were credited with fumble recoveries.

Offensively, freshman Dri Archer provided a bit of a spark as he rushed for a career-high 93 yards on 10 carries and caught one pass for nine yards. He also returned a kickoff 77 yards to set up one of two Freddy Cortez field goals. Senior Anthony Magazu completed just 5-of-14 passes for 31 yards.

Kent State completed its season with a 5-7 record overall and 4-4 in the MAC. Buffalo won two straight to finish 5-7, 3-5.

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