The Kent State football team showed it has mentally improved Saturday at Cleveland Browns Stadium, but Boston College's talent was too much to overcome in a 21-0 loss in the 2nd Annual Patriot Bowl.
The Eagles defense was key, holding junior running back Eugene Jarvis, the nation's leading returning rusher, to only 53 yards rushing, 22 of which came on one third quarter run. Quarterback Julian Edelman was the Flashes leading rusher with 55 in the game.
"Their defense was as good as advertised," coach Doug Martin said. "I think they are probably a little bit bigger and stronger than they even look on film, but they are every bit as good as advertised.
"I was really proud of our offense. I thought we did a good job of staying balanced and moving the ball, we had a hard time protecting against their guys up the middle, two 320 pound guys up the middle give you fits."
Edelman had a man in his face most of the game. After missing the last four games of last season, the senior completed 10 of 14 pass attempts with 123 yards and two interceptions. In the third series of both the first and second half he was replaced by junior Anthony Magazu, who went 3 for 6 for 11 yards. Martin said it was key to get the mobile Edelman out the game and rest after battling injury last season.
"We did that for a couple of reasons, No. 1 we had Edelman come off the field and let me talk to him for a series," Martin said. "No. 2 when you play with a mobile quarterback like we do he takes shots. He did a much better job tonight of not taking hits, he ran out of bounds, he slid, he didn't take too many unnecessarily shots."
While he wanted to stay in the game Edelman understood the coach's decision.
"It helped I guess," he said. "I'd rather be in there playing but it's coach's decision, he's the man."
Boston College got on the board first on a 10-yard run by senior quarterback Chris Crane. Replacing Matt Ryan, the third overall pick in the NFL Draft, Crane went 12 for 18 for 106 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
The Flashes blew an opportunity to grab the momentum early.
With the game still scoreless, Edelman flipped the ball to freshman H-back Sal Battles, who threw it deep down field to a wide open Sam Kirkland, but the slightly under thrown ball went through his hands.
Boston College made it 14-0 shortly after Crane's first touchdown run. Junior tailback Jeff Smith took a pitch on the right side and blew by the only person in the picture, safety Brian Lainhart, for a 42-yard touchdown run.
After uneventful second and third quarters, Boston College went 88 yards down the field in 16 plays to put the game out of reach.
The Flashes had one chance to score. A juggling circus catch by Jarvis on a screen pass went for 34 yards. He converted a fourth and one with a 12-yard rush and the Flashes were inside the 10, but Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich picked off an Edelman pass at the line and the Eagles ran out the clock.
The Flashes were out gained 336-260 on offense.
When a team gets shut out there isn't much to be happy about, but one thing that goes well when the offense doesn't move is the punting game.
"We were much better in the punting game. We were last in the nation in punting last year and I think tonight (Matt Rinehart) averaged 43 yards a kick," Martin said. "So that will help us going down the line."
Next on the line is a game at Iowa State Sept. 6.