Kent State football loses sixth-straight season opener



TEMPE, AZ – AUGUST 29: Kent State Golden Flashes wide receiver Isaiah McKoy (23) catches a touchdown pass during the college football game between the Kent State Golden Flashes and the Arizona State Sun Devils on August 29, 2019 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.


The Flashes were held to 200 total yards — 80 passing — and recovered two fumbles. Kent State, which went with two quarterbacks in juniors Woody Barrett and Dustin Crum, lost its sixth-straight opener.

Daniels finished 15 of 24 for 284 yards and two touchdowns. ASU has won 21 straight home openers and got its first win over a Mid-American Conference opponent.

“It’s the first win. Just happy, proud moment,” Daniels said. “At first I was nervous but actually after the game settled down, it was just having fun playing football all over again, Pop Warner, high school and everything else.”

Daniels’ first career touchdown pass was 8 yards to running back Eno Benjamin with 3:57 left in the first quarter. He hit Brandon Aiyuk on a 77-yard screen pass that went for another score in the third quarter.

Benjamin, who set an ASU single-season school record with 1,642 rushing yards last season — a total that led the Pac-12 — had 102 yards rushing on 22 carries.

Kent State, 2-10 last season, managed just one drive into the ASU half of the field in the first half. The Flashes were stopped on downs at the Sun Devils 34 in the first quarter.

“The defense did a fabulous job. Special teams was flipping the field, then the defense held them to some field goals and those were big-time wins,” Kent State head coach Sean Lewis said. “You need to seize those opportunities and it’s the duty of the offense, when there’s opportunity in those positions in the game to inject some life in the sideline and go get points and invigorate the bench.”

Barrett found sophomore wide receiver Isaiah McKoy for a 21-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter for the Flashes’ only points.

A 10-0 halftime lead for ASU became 27-0 in the third quarter with Daniels’ 1-yard touchdown run, the second of three Cristian Zendejas field goals and the highlight play of the night, the touchdown to Aiyuk, which was the longest pass play of his college career.

The takeaway

Hanging with a solid Pac-12 team in 102-degree heat for a half was something to build off of, but the Flashes couldn’t sustain the effort on defense and were victimized on offense by dropped passes and a low third-down conversion rate.

Up next

Kent State: The Flashes host Kennesaw State in their home opener on Sept. 7.