Kent State outlasts Howard in home opener

Kent State safety Manny Lawrence-Burke tackles Howard running back Anthony Philyaw.

Scott Lendak

The Kent State football team hosted the Howard Bison for the Flashes’ home opener at Dix Stadium.

On the first possession of the game, Kent forced a three-and-out and received starting field possession at the Howard 38-yard line. 

On Kent State’s first play from scrimmage, quarterback Nick Holley ran for a 38-yard touchdown to put the Flashes on top 7-0.

After the Flashes forced another punt, Holley threw a 25-yard passing touchdown to running back Justin Rankin to put Kent State up 14-0.

Howard answered with a 77-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 75-yard pass from quarterback Caylin Newton to wide receiver Jequez Ezzard. A 16-yard touchdown pass from Newton to wide receiver Kyle Anthony cut the lead 14-7.

Holley led the Flashes down the field when he threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to slot receiver Raekwon James. It was James’ first career touchdown catch. The Flashes took a 21-7 early in the second quarter.

Howard then cut the deficit once again after a 75-yard touchdown run by Anthony Philyaw. Philyaw was untouched on the play and it made the lead for Kent State 21-14 into the half. 

Opening up the second half, Howard stopped the Flashes, then kicked a 23-yard field goal to make it 21-17. 

After a few possessions back and forth, the Bison attempted to punt out of their own end zone when the long snapper put a ball over the punter’s head and through the back of the end zone for a safety.

The Flashes extended the lead to 23-17.

The Bison relentlessly answered once again with a one-yard touchdown run by Newton to put Howard on top for the first time 24-23. 

Kent State roared back when Kesean Gamble rushed in a touchdown from a yard out. Holley added a two-point conversion with his legs to make it 31-24.

The Flashes capitalized on a Howard turnover, and Kesean Gamble rushed for another touchdown from the 3-yard line. The Flashes led 38-24.  

Newton once again responded with a touchdown run from four yards out to cut the lead to 38-31. 

The Flashes held on to the lead and took the victory 38-31. 

Scott Lendak is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]