September 21, 2009

Where do they go from here?

There's losing and there's giving away a game.

It's not hard to determine which way Kent State went in Saturday's 34-14 loss to Iowa State. The Golden Flashes committed eight penalties-including two on the opening kickoff-and turned the ball over five times in the loss to the Cyclones.

Even with the self-inflicted wounds, the Golden Flashes had an opportunity to cut the Cyclones' lead to just one score late in the game. A bad snap and poor execution prevented that from happening.

"The Iowa State loss was a very disappointing loss to us because we beat ourselves," said Kent State head coach Doug Martin. "We told the team all along it's one thing if somebody comes in and they outplay you and they win the game but you can't give games away and that's what we did with turnovers and a real lack of focus."

Better play in the second half, and an encouraging performance by first time starter Spencer Keith at quarterback, gives hope to the Golden Flashes that they can rebound on Saturday when Miami visits Dix Stadium to open the 2009 Mid-American Conference season.

"There were some bright things, the freshman quarterback came in and played very well, the second half we competed pretty well in that game and just looking forward to getting into conference play," Martin said. "We've got a really good football team coming in here to play this Saturday; it will be an exciting venue."

When Miami arrives at Dix Stadium, the RedHawks will be carrying their own baggage. A loss last weekend dropped the RedHawks to 0-3 on the year and even more startling, Miami opened the season with 10 consecutive scoreless quarters. The RedHawks' first points of the season came in the third quarter of last week's 48-26 loss to Western Michigan.

Once Miami snapped the scoreless streak, the team went on to outscore the Broncos in the second half.

"The players really got that psychological monkey off their back in finally scoring; it seemed like they became a lot more relaxed once they scored the first touchdown," said Miami head coach Mike Haywood. "I thought they executed a little bit better and had a little bit more confidence. We have to build upon that confidence as we go into Kent and really looking forward to that opportunity."

Miami's record is a bit deceiving. The RedHawks' first two opponents-Kentucky and Boise State-are a combined 5-0 on the year, with quality wins over Fresno State, Louisville and Oregon. And, the RedHawks aren't short on talent.

"The first thing you see when you turn on the film is their kids played really, really hard on both sides of the ball and they are very athletic, they've got speed," Martin said. "One of the things when I first came in this league, we looked at Miami. They always had speed and that was kind of the team we tried to emulate in recruiting and trying to recruit the same type of players. They do a great job, especially in defense, I think of utilizing their talent, putting guys in position where they can get mismatches on people. It's a really well coached team and I can say they're going to play hard."

Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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