Robert Kent Jr. will probably check the early-week pronouncement, but on Saturday night he essentially removed all suspense from it.
Bothered by not winning Champions Indoor Football’s offensive player of the week award last week, the quarterback for Texas took it out on the team whose quarterback did. Kent vastly outplayed last week’s winner, Stephen Panasuk, passing for nine touchdowns and rushing for one in a 74-42 win over the Force at Intrust Bank Arena.
Kent passed for 280 yards and hit four receivers for at least two touchdowns apiece – Tavar Williams had three. Kent has thrown a combined 17 touchdowns in his last two games; Panasuk had six touchdowns in a win last week.
“To be honest, I took it personally,” Kent said. “Last week, I thought I had a great game and I thought I was going to make player of the week. (Panasuk) had a mediocre game that was close to what I did and he won player of the week, so I was really kind of upset. Just put it out there – I was mad. And I figured the best way to do it was to go out and show him who is the better quarterback.
“It wasn’t (only) about showing him, it was just going out there against the Force defense and putting up points like we know we’re capable of doing.”
The Force (4-1) allowed a season high in points and scored its fewest this year. The defensive aspect may be more troubling, or at least more difficult to fix, because injuries played a part.
Kent took advantage of a depleted Wichita secondary without injured defensive backs Kiaree Daniels and former NFL cornerback Elbert Mack. During Saturday’s game, Dorrian Roberts and Chris Hemphill were also lost to injury, leaving the Force without an equalizer to Texas’ receiving depth.
The big-play potential Wichita’s secondary once boasted has disappeared. Kendrick Harper’s interception on Saturday was the Force’s first in three weeks after it had six over the first two games.
“(Kent) is a fantastic quarterback and he took advantage of where we were weak, just like anybody should,” Force coach Paco Martinez said.
“ …It’s not like we just gave it to them, though. They earned it. They made some hellacious plays, and they took advantage of where we were a little bit banged up and weaker. They identified what it was, they found it and they exploited it like a good team should.”
Texas scored 68 points over the final three quarters, a stretch that included five touchdown passes of at least 13 yards – two that went for more than 40. Texas scored four unanswered touchdowns at one point, building a 47-20 lead.
The most damaging play to the Force was a 24-yard touchdown from Kent to Williams on third down following a James McCartney sack and a penalty against Texas. Kent threw as he was hit and found Williams across the middle.
Panasuk followed his award-winning performance by throwing four interceptions and watching his counterpart likely seize the weekly honor.
“It’s arena football,” Kent said. “You’re supposed to put the ball in the air, you’re supposed to go up and make plays. All I’ve got to do is put at up there. We beat the No. 1 team, so we brought our ‘A’ game.”
T—Kent 7 run (kick failed)
W—Davis 5 pass from Panasuk (Frazell kick)
T—Williams 45 pass from Kent (pass failed)
W—Daniels 15 fumble recovery (run failed)
T—Webb 5 pass from Kent (run failed)
W—Soft 5 pass from Panasuk (Frazell kick)
T—Fudge 3 run (Williams pass from Kent)
T—Williams 13 pass from Kent (pass failed)
T—Webb 41 pass from Kent (Webb pass from Fudge)
T—Solomon 2 pass from Kent (Calder kick)
W—Anderson 20 pass from Panasuk (Frazell kick)
T—Williams 24 pass from Kent (Calder kick)
W—Hayes 4 run (Frazell kick)
T—Solomon 4 pass from Kent (Calder kick)
W—Anderson 3 pass from Panasuk (Daniels pass from Panasuk)
T—Dewberry 6 pass from Kent (Calder kick)
T—Dewberry 14 pass from Kent (kick failed)
Rushing—Texas, Fudge 12-24, Kent 2-22; Wichita, Hayes 12-26, Panasuk 3-5.
Passing—Texas, Kent 22-36-280-1 INT; Wichita, Panasuk 12-26-114-4.
Receiving—Texas, Williams 5-107, Solomon 5-55, Webb 4-64, Dewberry 3-28, Fudge 3-21, Cooper 2-5; Wichita, Soft 4-53, Anderson 4-33, Hayes 2-16, Davis 2-12.