Page last updated on Tue Mar 31 05:45:24 EDT 2015
11/17/2012 5:30 PM EST
No. 25 Kent State beats Bowling Green 31-24
KENT ST 31, BOWLING GREEN 24
By JOHN SEEWER
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) -- Kent State's remarkable season just
keeps getting better.
The No. 25 Golden Flashes are going to their first Mid-American
Conference title game with the most wins in school history. But
getting there wasn't easy Saturday, especially for second-year
coach Darrell Hazell.
Kent State's defense stopped Bowling Green twice within the last
five minutes in the Flashes' territory, holding on for a 31-24
Luke Wollet's interception of Matt Schilz' heave into the end
zone with 21 seconds left sealed the victory. The Falcons had
driven to the Kent State 14 with less than a minute left, before
coming up empty on four consecutive throws.
"My stomach was in my throat," Hazell said. "I couldn't let the
players see it."
The former Ohio State assistant has revived a Kent State (10-1,
7-0 MAC) program that has been one of the worst in the
conference the last four decades with more winless seasons
(four) than winning ones (two) up until this year.
The Flashes' speedy junior running back Dri Archer took over the
game with leading rusher Trayion Durham banged up and unable to
Archer ran for 241 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns of
more than 70 yards.
On his second score at the start of the fourth quarter, Archer
broke three tackles on his way to a 74-yard touchdown run that
put Kent State ahead 24-17. He appeared to be stopped at
midfield, but somehow managed to slip away and zigzagged into
the end zone.
The teams traded scores until Kent State defensive tackle
Roosevelt Nix tipped Schilz's pass and lineman Richard Gray
grabbed the ball out of the air, setting up the Flashes at
Bowling Green's 20.
Archer took it from there, getting the offense down to the 7.
Quarterback Spencer Keith then faked to Archer and kept it for a
7-yard TD that put the Flashes ahead for good with 8:14 left.
Bowling Green (7-4, 5-2) had two more shots, but they were
stopped on downs and then intercepted in the end zone.
Keith, a senior, said his teammates had no doubt they were going
to win. That wasn't an attitude they had in the past.
"Before we definitely had some doubt," Keith said. "Just because
of our past history."
Back in the national rankings for the first time since 1973,
Kent State avoided becoming the third MAC team to lose a week
after getting into the Top 25.
Ohio was the first MAC team to get into the rankings this
season, and the Bobcats then lost their next game to Miami
(Ohio). Toledo got into the rankings and promptly lost to Ball
State last week.
It was a game of big plays on both sides, with four touchdowns
going for over 70 yards, including Archer's scoring runs of 79
and 74 yards.
Archer and Durham have both run 1,000-yards, but Archer knew he
would be counted on even more with teammate hurting.
"Coach told me all week I'd have to do more," he said
Archer's first score was spectacular, too. He took a handoff,
made one cut and raced past everyone for a 79-yard TD that gave
Kent State a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Kent State extended its school record nine-game winning streak
in what is its first winning season since 2001.
They've now won 14 of 16, including 11 straight in the MAC,
since beating Bowling Green a year ago.
Schilz was 22-of-44 passing for 355 yards and three touchdowns,
carving up a Kent defense that has given a lot of passing yards
His throw to Chris Gallon along the sideline for an 81-yard TD,
his second of the day, tied it at 24-24 early in the fourth
Gallon finished with 213 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Bowling Green had taken the lead early in the third quarter
17-10 when Schilz lofted a 27-yard throw to Shaun Joplin who
leaped over a defender and came down with one foot in the corner
of the end zone.
Kent State came back on the next drive by turning to Archer who
had a catch and two runs for 38 yards, setting up Keith's
32-yard TD pass to Eric Adeyemi, making it 17-17 with 7:47 left
in the third quarter.
Bowling Green had bottled up the Flashes' physical, grind-it-out
running game in the first quarter, holding them to just three
first downs - the first coming on a fake punt that gained 31
That's when Kent State began relying on Archer.
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