Kent State outlasts Ball State, Northern Illinois keeps rolling

By Tom Mulherin

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On Saturday, the Kent State football team beat Ball State, 45-43, in both teams’ second Mid-American Conference game of the season.

The Golden Flashes (3-1, 2-0 MAC) finished off the resilient Cardinals (3-2, 1-1 MAC) with six seconds left in the game, as Kent State ended a two-minute drive with an eventual game-winning 25-yard field goal by Freddy Cortez after going 86 yards down the field. The kick came after Ball State had taken its first lead of the game, 43-42, with 5:38 left in regulation.

Kent State running back Dri Archer ran past the Ball State defense to the tune of 350 total yards and three touchdowns, including a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

From the opening whistle, both teams never let up in the high-scoring game. At first, both defenses played lights out, causing a scoreless first quarter. But the Golden Flashes ignited an offensive-powered game with the first of 11 combined touchdowns off a 1-yard run from Traylon Durham with 13:27 left in the second quarter.

Despite Archer’s performance, the Cardinal offense responded to every challenge thrown its way, as quarterback Keith Wenning had a 445-yard passing performance, finding the end zone five times.

Northern Illinois romps CMU

Ever since a heartbreaking loss to Iowa to start its season, Northern Illinois has been rolling.

On Saturday, the Huskies continued its recent run when they beat Central Michigan, 55-24, in each team’s opening conference game.

The victory marked Northern Illinois’ (4-1, 1-0 MAC) fourth-straight win, while the Chippewas (2-2, 0-1 MAC) fell to .500 on the season.

The onslaught of touchdowns started six minutes into the game when Northern Illinois’ Leighton Settle scored from 11 yards out. Five minutes later, quarterback Jordan Lynch made his contribution with a 14-yard passing touchdown to Martel Moore to push the lead to 14-0.

Central Michigan stayed in the game, responding with a 37-yard Ryan Radcliff touchdown pass to Zurlon Tipton with 1:19 remaining in the first quarter.

While the score stayed relatively close in the third quarter, Central Michigan’s defense slipped in the fourth quarter, as the Huskies scored three unanswered rushing touchdowns from Settle (his third of the game), Mathew Sims and Keith Harris Jr., respectively, to end the game.

Other notable performances came from Chippewa receiver Cody Wilson (111 receiving yards), Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch (215 passing yards, 144 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and Chippewa receiver Titus Davis (92 receiving yards, touchdown).

Bowling Green stomps URI

Bowling Green continued its battle back from a 1-3 start to the season to win its homecoming game, 48-8, against non-conference opponent Rhode Island.

Although the victory for the Falcons (2-3, 0-1 MAC) came against the winless Rams (0-4, 0-2 Colonial Athletic Association), the margin of victory was impressive.

The game started out with a treat for Bowling Green, as BooBoo Gates scored an 80-yard punt return touchdown 3:18 into the game to go out in front, 6-0, after the extra point failed.

Things didn’t stop there as Anthon Samuel started off an explosive rushing day with a 7-yard rushing touchdown with 5:10 left in the first quarter. Samuel scored two more times to cap off a 127-yard rushing performance.

In the second quarter, after trailing by 20, URI scored its first and only touchdown on a Robbie Delgado 2-yard rushing touchdown, finished with a two-point conversion completion from quarterback Robert Bentsen.

But it was all Bowling Green from there, scoring 28 unanswered points to cap off its blowout of the Rams.

In the second half, both starting quarterback Matt Schilz and backup quarterback Matt Johnson threw for at least one touchdown, as the Falcons earned their second win of the season.

Bowling Green looks to extend its new good fortune as it faces off against conference opponent Akron (1-4, 0-1 MAC) on Saturday.

Tom Mulherin can be reached at [email protected].