October 24, 2010

Sideline Scribbles

Untitled Document

I'll be honest, I arrived at Bowling Green with a bad feeling in my
gut. I felt confident Kent State could defeat the 1-6 Falcons, but it's
hard to be optimistic when the Golden Flashes have endured so many years of
futility and even in this season, which started with such high expectations,
the Golden Flashes had complete meltdowns at Miami and Toledo.

Not only that, but Kent State entered the game just 9-24-2 at Bowling Green.
Sadly, seven of those wins and both ties occurred before I was born in 1968.
Only two Kent State coaches, Don James and Doug Martin, have won at
Bowling Green. With Saturday's 30-6 victory over the Falcons, the Flashes
are now 3-15 at Bowling Green since winning the Mid-American Conference title
in 1972. Martin has two of those victories. James has the other.

The win was big for many reasons; most importantly it kept alive the Golden
Flashes' slim hopes of winning the MAC East.

For that to happen, the Flashes have to win out in the MAC. That's a
tall order, but it's possible with all but one of those games occurring
at Dix Stadium.

Not only must the Flashes win out, they'll need Miami to lose two more
MAC games. The Redhawks play their next three on the road and host Temple in
the regular season finale.

By winning out, the Flashes will have beaten Temple head-to-head and since
the Owls already have one MAC loss, the Flashes would hold the tiebreaker over
the Owls.

It's the same situation with Ohio. The Bobcats lost to Toledo in week
2, opening the door for the Flashes to again hold a tiebreaker advantage with
a head-to-head victory.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's take a look at some of the
sights and sounds from Saturday's win at Bowling Green:


After Brian Lainhart's first interception of the season set
the Flashes up for a Freddy Cortez field goal, Bowling Green's
Jerry Gates returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.

Or did he?

Gates appeared to be tackled by Luke Wollet and Chris Gilbert,
but instead, with the help of his teammates, got back to his feet and raced
into the end zone for the touchdown.

"He was sitting right on top of me," Wollet said after the game. "It was crazy."

In this video, it appears Gates' right elbow touches the ground prior
to rolling to his left and getting back to his feet. Even if his elbow doesn't
touch the ground, it's clear his forward progress was stopped and the
officials should have stopped the play.

While you won't hear a whistle in the video, signaling the end of the
play, you will hear the BGSU stadium announcer begin to inform the crowd that
Bowling Green will begin its next possession at the 25-yard line. The Flashes
weren't the only ones that assumed Gates was down.

Apparently, the return was the No. 7 play on ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 plays
of the day.

Fortunately, Kent State's defense overcame the error.

"He's down, Ref"

It was nice to see former KSU athletics director Laing Kennedy roaming the
Flashes sideline. After the kick return Kennedy took a peak at my camcorder
for a replay of the kickoff return. He wasn't happy with what he saw.

A few moments later, Kent State's Matt Rinehart sent a punt
to the area directly in front of Kennedy on the sidelines. The BGSU return
man field the punt and was immediately brought down by a host of Flashes.

"He's down ref, he's down," Kennedy shouted.

Once a Flash, always a Flash.

Next Man In

You may not have noticed, but Kent State's defense played without two
starters: defensive lineman Lee Stalker and safety Dan Hartman.
Both were in uniform and could have played in an emergency.

Even without two of its top players, the Flashes defense held Bowling Green
to just 135 yards on 63 offensive plays, an average of 2.1 yards per play.

BGSU rushed 24 times for minus-10 yards and completed just 20-of-39 passes
for 145 yards, an average of 3.7 yards per attempt.

The defense forced three turnovers, including an interception by Wollet, Hartman's

Boom Rinehart

BGSU punter Bryan Wright entered the game leading the MAC with over
45 yards per punt. But, it was Kent State's Rinehart that shined on

Rinehart averaged 45.2 yards on four punts while Wright averaged just 35.3
yards on seven kicks.

No Scrums Allowed

Just before the end of the second quarter, Kent State's Freddy Cortez
booted a 32-yard field to increase the Golden Flashes lead to 20-6 with 2:27
left to play.

Knowing Wright's rugby style punts don't travel very far through
the air, Kent State head coach Doug Martin used all three of his time outs
to get the ball back in his offense's hands for one last attempt at adding
a late field goal.

A tackle for loss and a sack forced the Falcons to punt from their own 19.

Martin lined up three players to field Wright's punt, which sailed out
of bounds at the Bowling Green 39. Two plays later Spencer Keith hit
Tyshon Goode for a 28-yard score and 27-6 Kent State lead.

Ironically, Bowling Green's No. 1 nationally ranked Rugy team
put on a demonstration of their sport at halftime. Maybe it was a tryout for
the Falcons' next punter?

Strike up the Band

After Kent State's second touchdown of the game, which increased the
Flashes' lead to 17-6, Bowling Green took possession of the football
at its own 2-yard line.

The Golden Flashes might consider sending a thank you card to the Bowling
Green band, which was preparing for its halftime show by jamming the BGSU fight

Because Bowling Green was less than 15 yards away from the band, which was
seated just behind the end zone, the Falcons couldn't hear the play calls
or cadence from their quarterback. Several offensive linemen tried to quiet
the band, but their attempts failed.

The Falcons quickly punted the ball away to the Flashes, who went on to score
a field goal.

"Blue and Gold" Zone

After Kent State's effort in the red zone on Saturday, the Golden Flashes
should consider renaming the area inside the opponent's 20-yard line
as the "Blue and Gold Zone."

Kent State was a perfect 5-for-5 in Bowling Green's red zone. The Flashes
kicked three field goals and scored two touchdowns.

Fake field goal?

Spend enough time around a coaching staff and you get a good feel for how they
think and strategize.

When I film a game from the sidelines I typically don't record extra
points or field goal tries. Those are great opportunities for still photos
of players.

But, when Cortez lined up for what would have been a 33-yard field goal try
with the Flashes leading 10-6 I had a feeling Martin wasn't content with
just three points so I kept on filming from my spot just behind the end zone.

I was rewarded with a fake field goal and got every second of Leneric Muldrow's 13-yard first down run that set the Flashes up at the
BGSU 3-yard line. Keith hit Goode for a touchdown on the next play.

That's using your head

With all the attention helmet-to-helmet hits are receiving in both college
and NFL football, I was surprised when Bowling Green's Aunre' Daviswasn't flagged for his hit on KSU wide receiver Kendrick Pressley.

Instead of a penalty, the Falcons were rewarded with the football when Pressley
fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Kevin Alvarado.

Check out the hit here.

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