KENT, Ohio--Kent State running back Eugene Jarvis' first quarter touchdown reception from quarterback Spencer Keith helped the Blue squad defeat the White, 14-0, in Friday's spring game at Dix Stadium.
The play netted just seven yards but Jarvis covered a lot more ground to make his way into the end zone.
Just two games into his senior season last fall Jarvis suffered a lacerated kidney. It looked like his career could be over, but the 5-foot-5, 170-pounder from Pittsburgh, Pa., battled his way back to health and after the NCAA granted him a sixth year of eligibility in February he returned to the practice field this spring.
Jarvis wasn't live for much of spring drills, but he was on Friday night and it didn't take him long to return to form. His catch-and-run for a score capped the Blue squad's opening drive of the game.
"I'm just thankful and blessed to be back out there," Jarvis said. "I (haven't) been out there in so long, since September, I had a little jittery feeling. I (haven't) played in front of a crowd in so long. My teammates calmed me down and after that first carry I went back to playing football."
Jarvis' big night didn't end there.
At halftime he was honored as the recipient of the Matt Ramser Award and he also was named the first four-time captain in Kent State football history.
"I think that's a record," he joked. "Whenever you're nominated and your teammates look at you a certain way, you can only be thankful for that. That just shows your team depends on you when it's crunch time."
The award, named in honor of former KSU scholarship winner Matt Ramser, is given to a member of the football program who best exemplifies the qualities of courage, dedication, attitude and commitment that Ramser displayed in his battle with cancer, the disease that claimed his life on Jan. 15, 1992.
"That Matt Ramser award is really important to our players," head coach Doug Martin said. "That award is coveted by our players. They want that award. For Eugene to win that I think was very fitting. It was great to see him get in the end zone again. That guy's come a long way. He's battled through a lot. He's an inspiration. That's why today our team voted him captain again."
Jarvis also was selected by the Golden Flashes to honor outgoing Athletic Director Laing Kennedy with a framed Kent State football jersey.
Kennedy was a driving force behind the recommendation to the NCAA to allow Jarvis to return for a sixth season.
"Laing Kennedy means the world to us," Jarvis said. "He's done so much for us. He's definitely been there for me. For this team and coaching staff, he was one guy that always stuck by us. It was definitely a little emotional. I know he enjoyed it. I just wish him well in his future endeavors."
There wasn't much action between Jarvis' first quarter touchdown and Cedric McCloud's 1-yard touchdown run with just 1:15 left to play. The offense held an advantage for most of the spring, but the defense got its revenge on Friday.
Kent State's top running backs combined for just 70 yards on 30 carries and Keith, McCloud and Giorgio Morgan completed just 22-of-41 passes for 239 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Keith was 7-of-9 for 96 yards and a score.
Punter Matt Rinehart had a big night. The junior averaged 46.6 yards per punt with a long of 71 yards. He had four kick over 50 yards. Kicker Freddy Cortez was 2-for-2 on extra point attempts but 0-for-2 on field goal tries. He did have a 52-yard attempt bounce off the top half of the left upright.