One final 86-yard march set the stage for a 25-yard field goal by Freddy Cortez to give the Golden Flashes their first 2-0 start in Mid-American Conference play since 1987 and the their first 3-1 start overall since the days of Glen Mason in 1987.
Along the way, Dri Archer returned a kickoff 99-yards in the second quarter to highlight a three-touchdown day, Spencer Keith laid claim to Kent State's starting quarterback job by throwing for the first three touchdowns of his senior season, and Trayion Durham bulled through the Cardinals defense for 91 rushing yards and a pair of one-yard touchdown plunges.
The last 20 yards of Durham's day – a rumble to the 5-yard line with just 21 seconds on the clock –set up Cortez' game-winning kick.
"I thought our kids did a great job of battling back and forth and finding a way to win the football game," said Kent State coach Darrell Hazell. "I can't be more proud of our football team. I love our locker room. We hav ea great group of guys who prepare hard and get themselves ready to compete."
After watching a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter slip away in an ugly four-minute stretch, the Flashes needed to set aside their frustration as they walked onto the field with 2:05 to play and the ball placed 94 yards from the goal line.
Just a few minutes earlier, Keith had watched his string of consecutive passes without an interception end at 248 on a wild tipped-ball play that Ball State converted into their first lead of the day. Keith chose to have a short memory. Instead of focusing on the pick, he drew confidence from what had been a breakout performance.
"We were confident because of how well we played on offense all day," said Keith. We knew we were going to go down and score … It was such an exciting game, the whole game.."
Keith kept the final drive alive by converting key third-and-fourth-down throws to Matthew Hurdle during the march.
Earlier in the day, Keith hit Archer on touchdown passes of 23 yards in the second quarter and 33 yards in the third quarter. Both plays came on a play called "Deuce Right Pinch, Ricky 64, Y Post." Hazell stole the play from the Philadelphia Eagles after watching it work in an NFL game last week.
Keith completed 16-of-31 passes on his way to 295 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown toss to a wide-open Hurdle early in the third quarter. With the senior playing his best game of the season, Kent State made the in-game decision not to rotate quarterbacks the way it did the previous week's win at Buffalo.
"I thought (Keith) played excellent today," said Hazell. "He was special. Those throws to Dri were excellent, easy catchable balls. I'm proud of him."
Kent State needed Keith at his best just to offer a counter to Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning. The Cardinals' senior completed 32-of-43 passes for 445 yards and five touchdowns – the last a six-yard throw to Connor Ryan that gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 43-42 with 5:38 to play.
Ball State finished with 557 yards in total offense. Add in Kent State's 461 and the two offenses combined for 1,018 on their way to 88 combined points.
Kent State added another 221 yards in kickoff returns, including 174 by Archer, who returned his second kick for a touchdown this year.
Archer now has eight touchdowns on the season – two by kick return, two as a receiver, and four as a runner.
"It's all execution," said Archer. "It starts with the linemen blocking. They were opening holes for the running game. They were good in pass protection and Spencer was finding guys open."
The crowd of 21,657 was the 10th largest in Dix Stadium history.
EAST HARTFORD, CT – The University at Buffalo football team had a final possession to try to tie the game late, but the rally fell short as the Bulls lost to Connecticut, 24-17, at Rentschler Field on Saturday afternoon.
For the first time in the Jeff Quinn era a running back other than Branden Oliver was in the starting lineup. Brandon Murie and Devon Campbell filled in admirably for the Doak Walker candidate. The duo combined for 164 yards of total offense and a pair of touchdowns against one of the nation's top defenses. In fact, as a team, the Bulls outgained the Huskies in total offense, 361-360.
"Our football team today went on the road and played extremely hard against a good football team in Connecticut," head coach Jeff Quinn said. "I really like the way our kids fought. They competed their tail ends off. I couldn't be more proud of the football team in that locker room."
Connecticut struck first on its opening possession with a 29-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead with 10:10 left in the first quarter.
The Bulls responded with a 10-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 4-yard touchdown run by Murie. The key play of the drive was a 4th-and-5 conversion at the UConn 34-yard line. Alex Zordich faked the end-around handoff to Murie and threw a screen pass to Campbell that the freshman was able to advance to the Huskies' 4-yard-line. Murie punched it in on the very next play.
Thanks to some big plays, Connecticut would score the game's next three touchdowns. A 36-yard TD reception early in the second quarter, followed by a 50-yard touchdown run just four minutes later gave the Huskies a 17-7 lead at the half. The Huskies scored on a 2-yard run to take a 24-7 lead with 5:03 left in the third quarter.
Buffalo reached into its bag of tricks for its second score. Zordich threw a quick strike to Neutz who then flipped the ball to Murie who raced down the sideline for a 50-yard touchdown. The Bulls headed to the fourth quarter trailing 24-14.
After the UB touchdown, the UB defense stepped up and forced punts on UConn's next four possessions. Buffalo didn't allow the Huskies to advance the ball more than 19 yards on any of the four possessions.
Patrick Clarke connected on a 44-yard field goal with 2:32 left in the game to cut the UConn advantage to 24-17.
After forcing a 3-and-out, the Bulls regained possession on their own 20-yard line. They were able to advance it to their own 41-yard line before turning the ball over on downs.
Coming into the game UConn was ranked fifth in the nation in total defense. However, the Bulls showed that they play some defense in Buffalo, too. UB had more sacks (3) and tackles for loss (8) on the afternoon than UConn (1 & 5).
Lee Skinner had a career-high 13 tackles to lead the defensive effort. Khalil Mack continued to be a terror in the backfield as he had 3.5 more tackles for loss to bring his season total to an astounding 11 through three games.
Zordich threw for 220 yards and a touchdown and ran for a team-best 76 yards. He extended his streak of throwing a touchdown pass to four games.
Buffalo will next return to conference play and travel to Ohio to face the Bobcats next Saturday.
AKRON, Ohio - Senior quarterback Zac Dysert set numerous Miami and Mid-American Conference records Saturday, but it was Justin Semmes' three-yard touchdown run with 1:04 left that gave the RedHawks a 56-49 victory over Akron at InfoCision Stadium.
Dysert followed up a four-touchdown performance against UMass last week by throwing a school-record six scoring passes, topping the standard held by Ben Roethlisberger, Sam Ricketts and himself. He accounted for 516 yards through the air -- second-most in school history -- completing 34 of 49 attempts. He added 108 yards on the ground, his best ever and second career-game over the century mark, to set a MAC record for total offense at 624 yards.
Dawan Scott caught 11 passes for 208 yards, both career highs, and posted his second straight two-touchdown game. His totals ranked tied for 11th and third, respectively, in Miami history.
The RedHawks, who led 35-28 at halftime, came out firing early.
Dysert completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Luke Swift 39 seconds into the first quarter to open the scoring. The touchdown was Swift's first of his career.
Andy Cruse put Miami up 13-7 after making a beautiful one-handed grab on a pass that was thrown behind him at the 4:56 mark. However, Kaleb Patterson's extra-point try went wide right.
Akron narrowed the RedHawks' lead to 13-7 a minute and a half later, scoring on a 56-yard strike from Dalton Williams to Jerrod Dillard. The Zips then took the lead at the end of the first on a 10-yd pass from Williams to Marquelo Suel down the left sideline.
Dysert and Dawon Scott hooked up for two quick scores in the second to give Miami a 28-14 lead.
Scott hauled in a 21-yard TD with 14:22 left in the half and caught another from 33 yards out at the 10:59 mark. The sophomore wide receiver also helped convert a 2-point conversion on a 2-yard pass from Dysert.
Akron hurried back and tied the game at 28-28 after scoring on two short running plays.
Dysert gave Miami the halftime lead, as he threw for his fifth TD of the game, a 12-yard strike to sophomore David Frazier. The score was Frazier's first of his career.
Akron came out of the half scoring on its first drive to tie it at 35-35, but Miami regained the lead once again on a Patterson 26-yard field goal with 6:23 left in the third.
Miami and Akron traded scores again late in the third and early in the fourth.
Dysert hooked up with Jamire Westbrook for a 19-yard TD with 1:40 remaining in the third. The score broke the school record for most passing TDs in a game.
But the Zips responded with a quick score early in the fourth to pull within three points. Jawon Chisholm dove in from the 1-yard line.
The RedHawks made it a six-point game with 10:01 remaining after Patterson made a 43-yard field goal. The freshman was two-for-three on the day, the second time this year he has made multiple kicks. Three of his six field goals have been longer than 40 yards.
Akron took a one-point lead, its first since it held a 14-13 advantage in the first quarter, with 7:06 remaining. Dalton Williams connected with Dee Frieson for an 18-yard touchdown.
Bowling Green 48, Rhode Island 8 Final Stats
The Bowling Green State University football team improved to 2-3 for the 2012 season on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 29) as it posted a 48-8 Homecoming victory over the Rhode Island Rams.
Anthon Samuel had one of the finest days of his career, as he provided the Falcons with 127 yards rushing on just 17 carries. Three of those carries resulted in a touchdown, including a 31-yard effort that followed Rhode Island's only score of the game.
BGSU's offense moved at will throughout the game. The team scored touchdowns on six of the 11 possessions in which they ran an offensive play. They also had seven drives of at least 50 yards. The team also recorded 30 first downs.
The Falcons finished with 538 yards on 73 plays and averaged 7.4 yards per play. Falcon quarterbacks threw for 332 and averaged just shy of 10 yards per attempts, while the team rushed for another 206 yards.
Matt Schilz was 20-of-27 for 281 yards and two touchdowns. Chris Gallon caught both scoring passes as part of his four reception, 43 yard day. Alex Bayer led Falcon receilvers with five catches for 47 yards, as nine different players caught passes.
Bowling Green's defense was just as good. The Rams were held to just 171 yards on 54 plays (3.2 yards/play). Despite having 32 rushes, Rhode Island managed only 96 yards, and URI earned only 75 yards passing.
Rhode Island's longest possession was their lone scoring drive, and that lasted only 33 yards. In fact, the Rams' only scoring opportunties came after a muffed URI punt and two short BGSU punts.
Chris Jones earned a sack for the Falcon defense, while Josh Pettus recovered a Rhode Island fumble.
The Orange and Brown began the day's scoring when Jerry "BooBoo" Gates returned a punt for 80 yards and a touchdown with 11:42 left in the first quarter. After another URI punt, Samuel began his scoring barrage with a seven-yard touchdown run to give BGSU a 13-0 first quarter lead.
Gallon caught each of his two touchdown passes in the second quarter. The second came on a fast-paced seven play, 78-yard drive that lasted just 42 seconds. The score gave the Falcons a 34-8 lead at halftime.
Bowling Green added a touchdown each in the third and fourth quarter to earn the final margin of 48-8.
BGSU's next game is one week from today against Akron. Game time is 2:00 p.m. in Akron. The Zips will enter the game at 1-4 following a loss today against Miami. Both Bowling Green and Akron arrive with matching 0-1 records in the Mid-American Conference.
Ohio 37, UMass 34 Final Stats
FOXBORO, Mass. - Ohio Football kept up its winning ways on Saturday afternoon, picking up a victory at UMass by a final score of 37-34. The win pushes the Bobcats' record to 5-0, a mark which has not been achieved since the 1968 season.
Junior running back Beau Blankenship had a great day on the ground for the Green and White, rumbling for 269 yards and two touchdowns on 43 carries. He surpassed 100 yards on the ground for the fifth straight time this season and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. Blankenship's 269 yards on the ground marked the first time an Ohio running back has rushed for 250 yards or more since Kalvin McRae did it against Ball State in 2005.
Quarterback Tyler Tettleton also had a strong afternoon, completing 15-of-27 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns. As he has been able to do all season, Tettleton spread the ball well among his receiving corps, hitting eight different receivers in the win. The junior signal-caller has now cracked into the top three of the school's all-time career completions list with 357.
Mike Wegzyn performed well for the hosts, completing 27 of his 51 passing attempts for 373 yards and four touchdowns. The Minutemen outgained Ohio in the game, recording 511 yards to the Bobcats' 503.
UMass played a strong first quarter, slightly outgaining the Bobcats, 144-127. The Minutemen held Ohio (5-0, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) to a three-and-out on its opening possession and then worked methodically down the field on their first drive of the day, going 82 yards on 12 plays in 3:52. Wegzyn opened the scoring with a 27-yard touchdown pass to teammate Alan Williams, making it 7-0. Ohio was able to answer back on its next drive, working 73 yards up the field in 16 plays and scoring its first points of the game via a Matt Weller 27-yard field goal.
The teams then traded field goals on their next two possessions. UMass hit a 30-yarder to make it 10-3 with 1:54 left in the first quarter and Weller connected on a 24-yarder 3:13 into the second quarter to shrink the Minutemen's lead to four.
Blankenship had a terrific first half for the Bobcats, scampering for more than 100 yards in the first 30 minutes. On his 16th carry of the game he surpassed the 100-yard mark for the fifth straight game, something which hasn't been achieved by an Ohio running back since the 2007 season. Beau's running paced the Bobcats to their first touchdown of the game, a one-yard strike from Tettleton to Troy Hill with 5:40 remaining in the first half. Weller converted the PAT to give the Bobcats their first lead of the afternoon at 13-10.
UMass (0-5, 0-2 MAC) appeared to be set to take a four-point lead into the halftime break before two important plays by the Ohio offense in the final 90 seconds. Facing a fourth-and-one, Tettleton rushed up the middle to gain the necessary yardage before hitting wide receiver Chase Cochran with a pinpoint touchdown pass down the sideline for 41 yards to give the `Cats a 20-17 lead at the end of the half.
To open the second half, UMass drove 81 yards down the field in 12 plays to score the first touchdown of the period. The Minutemen capped off this scoring drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Wegzyn to Deion Walker, making it 24-20 following the ensuing PAT with 10:54 to play in the third quarter. This marked the fourth lead change of the game.
The Minutemen grasped some momentum in the third quarter, beginning when they blocked a Weller field goal attempt. UMass was then able to drive down the field once more, connecting on a 23-yard field goal with 3:15 left in the third quarter to take a 27-20 lead.
Culminating a drive which spanned the end of the third to the beginning of the fourth quarter, Blankenship plunged into the end zone on a five-yard run to level the game at 27-apiece. Blankenship's TD run was his first of the day, fourth of the season and was the 11th play of a 78-yard drive which took 4:27 off the clock. The `Cats then took a 30-27 lead with 9:35 remaining in the game when Weller knocked in a 26-yard field goal. The successful kick was his third of the day.
Blankenship then gave Ohio some breathing room with 6:13 remaining in the contest, bursting through the middle of the line to run for a 40-yard touchdown. Weller's ensuing PAT put the `Cats ahead by a healthy ten-point margin, 37-27.
UMass made it interesting at the end, scoring to pull within three points when Wegzyn found Williams for an 11-yard TD strike to make it 37-34. Ohio's defense was able to shut down the Minutemen from this point on.
Ohio Football will next be in action on Saturday, Oct. 6 when Buffalo comes to Athens. The Bobcats and Bulls will kick off from Peden Stadium at noon.
DEKALB, Ill. --
Junior running back Leighton Settle
scored three touchdowns while rushing for 152 yards on 23 carries to lead Northern Illinois to a 55-24 victory on Saturday afternoon at Huskie Stadium. Junior quarterback Jordan Lynch
gained 144 yards on 21 carries with a touchdown and went 14-of-32 through the air for 215 yards and another score.
As a team, the Huskies gained 407 yards on 55 carries. The victory was NIU’s 18th-straight at Huskie Stadium and was the first time the Huskies have scored 50-or-more points since defeating Toledo, 63-60, on Nov. 1, 2011. NIU improved to 4-1 overall and won its first Mid-American Conference game of the season. Central Michigan is 2-2, 0-1.
“When you run for 400 yards, I don’t know how you can’t be happy,” said NIU head coach Dave Doeren
. “We’re protecting our quarterback; he’s not getting hit a lot in the pass game. I think coach (Rod) Carey does a phenomenal job just mixing up things with the launch point, different protections and making it tough defensively. (Opponents) can’t blitz a lot with the run game we have. We’re ahead of where I thought we’d be at this point.
“It’s funny -- we were up by 10 at half, and everyone in the locker room was mad. We felt like we hadn’t played our best yet. We have a group of guys that don’t want to underachieve. They want to play at their utmost best all the time. We left a few plays out there in the first half and we knew it.”
Northern Illinois led by 10 at halftime, but Central Michigan trimmed the lead to just three, 24-21, on the first play of the second half. Following an illegal block penalty that pushed CMU back to its own eight-yard line to begin the drive, Ryan Radcliff connected with Titus Davis on a 92-yard pass to bring the Chippewas within three.
Radcliffe finished the afternoon 20-of-39 passing for 332 yards and two touchdowns.
The Huskies answered with a 20-yard field goal from junior Mathew Sims
(Hannibal, Mo./Hannibal) on the next drive and never looked back, outscoring the Chippewas 31-3 in the final 26 minutes of the contest.
Following the Sims field goal, Central Michigan marched down to the NIU 16-yard line before a Radcliff pass was intercepted by senior defensive end Sean Progar
, who claimed his first career INT.
The Huskies converted the turnover into points as Lynch pushed the lead to 13, 34-21, with a nine-yard touchdown run, capping a nine-play, 61-yard drive with 4:29 to play in the third quarter.
Central Michigan clawed back within 10 with a 42-yard David Harman field goal with 1:02 left in the third.
Both teams punted on their first drives of the fourth quarter and, on its second drive of the quarter, the Huskies drove to the Central Michigan seven before back-to-back incomplete passes set up a fourth and six. Lined up for a 20-yard field goal, the Huskies caught the Chippewas by surprise as senior punter Ryan Neir
flipped the ball over his shoulder to Sims on a fake. Sims got the corner and found the end zone, giving NIU a 41-24 lead with 11:28 to play in the fourth quarter.
After Harman missed a 41-yard field goal, Settle scored for the third time on the afternoon with a 46-yard rush with 3:43 remaining, putting the Huskies up 48-24.
Freshman running back Keith Harris Jr.
closed the scoring with a four-yard touchdown carry. Harris gained 53 yards on the first play of the drive before being caught from behind at the Chippewa nine. A Central Michigan offside penalty moved the Huskies five yards closer and Harris finished the drive with his four-yard scoring run.
Harris rushed for 67 yards on six carries.
NIU took a 14-0 lead early in the contest as Settle opened the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown run and Lynch connected with senior wide receiver Martel Moore
for a 14-yard touchdown.
Central Michigan cut the NIU lead in half with 1:19 to play in the first quarter. Zurlon Tipton caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Radcliff to trim the Huskie lead to 14-7.
Tipton caught three passes for 41 yards while also rushing for a team-best 66 yards on 15 carries.
Northern Illinois answered with an 11-play, 41-yard drive, capped by a Sims 43-yard field goal to give the Huskies a 17-7 lead.
Following a three and out by CMU, Settle scored his second touchdown of the day on a six-yard run. The score was set-up by a 43-yard pass from Lynch to sophomore tight end Luke Eakes
Three minutes before the break, Tipton capped a 16-play, 75-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown, bringing the Chippewas within 10, 24-14, heading into the half.
Northern Illinois goes on the road for three of its next four games, beginning with a MAC West battle versus Ball State next Saturday in Muncie. The game kicks off at 2 p.m. (CT) and will air on ESPN3.