Junior quarterback Woody Barrett fumbled on the opening play from scrimmage.
Four drives later, coach Sean Lewis benched the junior quarterback in favor of junior Dustin Crum for the rest of the first half.
“I thought that Crum could get in there, give us a little bit of life, so that is why I made the move,” Lewis said.
The two quarterbacks combined for -1 passing yards in the first half.
“Obviously, that didn’t work out,” Lewis said. “It was good for Woody to get a break, see the game differently and readjust. He did a great job staying ready, motivated and invested in the game and that showed by what he was able to do in the second half.”
Barrett finished 9-for-16 for 83 yards, his second lowest total in his Kent State career. The majority of his yards came in one drive during the fourth quarter.
Kent State lost 30-7, producing only 200 total yards, which is the lowest since Nov. 6 at Buffalo. They also were limited to just 64 plays, their second-lowest during the “FlashFast” era.
“Too many self-inflicted wounds, we can’t start that slow, especially offensively,” Lewis said. “We have to get better across the board and that starts with me.”
Kent State fumbled three other times in the first quarter. Junior running back Jo-El Shaw fumbled on two straight carries, losing the second, which resulted in an Arizona State touchdown.
“Credit Arizona State, they put us behind the sticks, got us off rhythm,” Lewis said. “They disguised a lot of things and that is a sign of big growth for them from year one to year two. Once we settled down and executed, we got things rolling and that shows you what kind of great things this team and these guys are capable of.”
The Flashes defense sacked freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels five times. Senior defensive lineman Theo Majette finished with two sacks, tying his career-high. Junior Qwuantrezz Knight finished with a team-high 10 tackles.
“Being able to get some big plays and hold them to field goals, those are big-time wins for our defense,” Lewis said. “(It’s the duty of the offense) to seize those opportunities.”
After the loss, Lewis reaffirmed that Barrett is the quarterback moving forward.
“Woody is our guy,” Lewis said. “He’s our quarterback but I feel very lucky to have two guys that we can go to. We used this as an opportunity to get both guys some game reps and took advantage of that moment.”
The Flashes are 0-1 on the season. Their next game is against Kennesaw State (0-0) Sept. 7. Kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m. at Dix Stadium.
Ian Kreider is a sports reporter. Contact him at email@example.com.