Students at Quaker Steak watch Patriots’ record comeback over Falcons in Super Bowl

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New England Patriots’ Julian Edelman breaks away from Atlanta Falcons’ Levine Toilolo during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Madeline Crandall & Henry Palattella

As Luke Bryan sang the National Anthem for football’s biggest night of the year,­ Kent State students gathered in the lower level of the Student Center Quaker Steak and Lube, ordering wings and participating in the evening’s festivities.

The Center for Student Involvement planned activities for students to interact with the Super Bowl and meet new people. Students were encouraged to show support for their favorite team and experience the commercials and halftime show.

The game – which featured the powerhouse New England Patriots and underdog Atlanta Falcons – was awash in storylines, some of which were centered in Kent, Ohio, as Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was a former quarterback at Kent State.

Sophomore zoology major Thomas Fisher was the lead event coordinator for the affair, which boasted an opportunity for students to receive Flashperks.

“This Flashperks event is to give students a chance to de-stress from the semester so far, enjoy the food and meet new people,” Fisher said. “Most people love the commercials, so we made an activity where people can stay interactive during them instead of just sitting around.”

The game started out as a defensive battle, as neither team was able to get on the scoreboard in the first quarter. Atlanta struck first in the second quarter, however, as they scored their first touchdown on a five yard run by running back Devonta Freeman.

They added another touchdown when Falcons quarterback and regular season MVP Matt Ryan hit tight end Austin Hooper for the 14 yard touchdown. The Falcons capped off the scoring explosion when cornerback Robert Alford intercepted a Tom Brady pass and took it 82 yards for a touchdown and a 21-0 Atlanta lead. The Patriots added a field-goal at the end of the second quarter that made it 21-3 Patriots going into the break.

Commercial bingo was made for students to get to play along during the game. Common brand names were placed on the bingo sheet for students to mark off as those commercials aired.

Super Bowl squares was another game students played throughout the evening, where they kept track of scores as the game went along for their name to be entered in a prize drawing.

Prizes included a winter gift basket, student supplies gift bag, a Netflix gift card, official merchandise from both teams and more.

Lauren Breslow, a sophomore fashion merchandising major, chose to attend the event.

“(My) roommate (and I) decided to come down here to watch the game with a couple of our friends. I wasn’t expecting the games and free desert,” Breslow said. “It’s a cool idea for students who don’t have direct access to the game to come watch and hangout.”

The Falcons appeared to put the game away early in the third quarter when they scored a touchdown on a six yard touchdown pass to Tevin Coleman that made it 28-3 Atlanta. The Patriots scored their first touchdown of the night when Brady found running back James White from five yards out. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed the ensuing extra-point, however, and the Patriots found themselves down 28-9 going into the fourth quarter.

Anthony Callahan, a sophomore public relations major, shared his thoughts on the party.

“It’s really cool they did bingo for the commercials. It’s one of my favorite parts of game day so I’m happy I could potentially win prizes from being here,” Callahan said.

“Even though we still have class tomorrow, taking a break from school to enjoy the game was nice for a little,” Callahan said.

The Patriots took over in the fourth quarter, with their first points coming on a 33-yard field-goal from Gostowski. New England forced Ryan to fumble on the Falcons next possession, and took over at the Atlanta 25. They needed only five plays to score, and eventually scored on a six yard pass to receiver Danny Amendola which made it 28-20 Atlanta.

The Patriots got the ball back with 3:30 left in the game, and their drive looked like it was going to stall up until Edelman made his mark on the game. Edelman – who played quarterback at Kent from 2006 to 2008 – made an insane juggling catch at the Atlanta 41 yard-line that not only kept the pass from being incomplete, but also saved an interception.

The Patriots used the momentum from Edelman’s catch to their advantage, as they scored four plays later on a one yard run by White. Brady tied the game up at 28 when he hit Amendola on the two-point conversion, and the teams were headed to the first overtime period in Super Bowl history. The Patriots got the ball first in overtime and went on a right play, 75 yard drive, a drive that ended when White scored a touchdown from two yards out, which sent Patriots colored confetti down from the sky and sent the now five-time super bowl winner Brady down to his knees in celebration.

Madeline Crandall is an entertainment reporter, contact her at [email protected].

Henry Palattella is the sports editor, contact him at [email protected]