Despite prestigious alumni, wins historically tough to come by for KSU football team

Kent State cheerleaders pose in a pyramid at a football game with the crowd in the bleachers behind them.

Ian Kreider


45 of the Kent State football team’s 57 seasons have ended with more losses than wins.

The team has finished with double-digit wins one time in 2012.

They have finished winless four times.

Taking all of this into account, there are two games that still grab every Kent State football fan’s attention: Homecoming and Akron.

The team is 6-8 in Homecoming games since 2004, while they have watched the Zips celebrate with the Wagon Wheel three years in a row. Akron also leads the overall matchup, 34-24-2.

Although the team has struggled historically, they have produced a variety of NFL talent. Jack Lambert, James Harrison, Julian Edelman and Antonio Gates are a few of the more successful Kent State alumni.

The teams combined to finish 36-53-1 when Lambert, Harrison and Edelman suited up for the Flashes. Gates totaled 1,216 points in two seasons for the Flashes basketball team.

The Flashes had their best season in 2012 when they finished 11-3, topping out at No. 18 in the country and a birth in the bowl. This team was led by explosive running back Dri Archer.

Archer was key in the Flashes’ bowl birth. The rushing attack, led by Archer, was held under 100 yards in a game once that season in the Mid-American Confrence Championship game against Northern Illinois. The team was 9-1 when rushing for 150 yards or more.  

The team has also produced a variety of successful coaching alumni. Nick Saban is the most notable, posting a record of 132-20 with six national championships in his 11 seasons at Alabama. Saban was a defensive back for the Flashes during the 1971-1972 season. He then entered the coaching realm during the 1973-1974 season, working as a graduate assistant at Kent State. He went on to have a long, complicated resume before landing at Alabama that included coaching in the NFL twice.

The Flashes have one conference title to their name in 1972. A conference title is one thing current coach Sean Lewis has his eyes set on.

After the team’s lone victory against Howard this season, Lewis did not ring the Victory Bell. The tradition of ringing the bell after every home win has been a tradition for years. Lewis refuses to ring the bell until the team plays in Detroit for the MAC championship.

This may seem like a lofty goal, especially after the 52-24 blowout loss in last week’s MAC opener at Ball State. Kent State has produced during almost every game in the first half, but penalties have ultimately slowed their momentum. Lewis has noted “self-inflicted wounds” after every loss. The Flashes will need to cut down on them if the team has any shot of capturing that elusive second conference title.

One thing is for certain: Rain or shine, thousands of fans will pack Dix Stadium for Saturday’s game against Ohio. Kick off is at 3:30 p.m.

Ian Kreider is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].