Five defining plays of the Flashes football season


Freshman widereceiver Kavious Price is tacked by the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide’s junior redshirt defensive back Anthony Averett during a play in a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. The Flashes lost 48-0.

Henry Palattella

Note: all records are those teams had when they faced off

Saturday, Sept. 24: Kent State (1-2) vs. No.1 University of Alabama (3-0)

Minkah Fitzpatrick and Brandon Kennedy sack Kent State quarterback Mylik Mitchell, breaking his hand

When Kent State traveled down to Tuscaloosa to face off against top-ranked Alabama, the Flashes went down in the hopes that they would be able to get some invaluable experience by playing against one of the best teams in the country. While the Flashes may have gotten they experience, that doesn’t change the fact that they suffered a key injury. The Flashes lost true freshman quarterback Mylik Mitchell due to a broken hand late in the second quarter. While this injury eventually led to Nick Holley taking over at quarterback, one can only imagine how the Flashes would have done if Mitchell was behind center the whole season.

Kent State – Alabama from on Vimeo.

Saturday, Oct. 22: Kent State (2-5, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) vs. Ohio University (4-3, 2-1 MAC)

Nick Holley misses a wide open Brice Fackler in the end zone in the fourth quarter

The aforementioned injury to Mitchell left a hole behind center for the Flashes, one that was filled by Nick Holley. Holley found some success behind center for the Flashes, as he threw for 868 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 920 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

Holley could have 895 yards and 11 passing touchdowns, but he missed a wide open Brice Fackler in the back of end zone in the fourth quarter of the Flashes game against Ohio, a touchdown that would have given the Flashes a 17-14 lead. Had the Flashes won, they would have been tied for first in the MAC East instead, they settled for one of their six conference losses

Saturday, Oct. 15: Kent State (2-4, 1-1 MAC) vs. University of Miami (OH) (1-6, 1-2 MAC)

Gus Ragland’s 55-yard pass to Kenny Young to give the University of Miami (OH) the lead with a minute left.

Miami (OH) came into their matchup against the Flashes with their season on the line. The Redhawks had dropped all six of their past meetings, had no quarterback, and were ranked 128th (dead last) in the FBS. The Redhawks elected to start quarterback Gus Ragland, who started practicing the Tuesday of that week as he came back from an ACL injury.

Ragland proceeded to throw for 181 yards and two touchdowns, with his last one being the most important. Ragland found speedy running back Kenny Young who motored his way 55 yards into the end zone to give the Redhawks an 18-14 lead with a minute left. The win over the Flashes was the start of a six-game winning streak for the Redhawks, who finished the season bowl eligible at 6-6.

Kent State – Miami (OH) from on Vimeo.

Saturday, Sept. 10: Kent State (0-1) vs. North Carolina A&T (1-0)

Oluwafemi Bamiro’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Denzel Keyes for the game-winning double in quadruple overtime

Kent State opened their home slate against FCS opponent North Carolina A&T. The Flashes came into the game having won 13-straight games against FCS opponents, so before the season this matchup looked to be more of a tune-up game for the Flashes.

That didn’t prove to be the case, as the Bulldogs gave the Flashes all that they could handle and more, as beat the Flashes 39-36 in four overtimes. North Carolina ended the game when third-string quarterback Oluwafemi Bamiro found wide receiver Denzel Keyes to give the Bulldogs the walk-off win over the Flashes.

Bamiro — who had never played quarterback at the collegiate level coming into the game — threw for 95 yards and two touchdowns after coming into the game in relief.

Kent State – North Carolina A&T from on Vimeo.

Saturday, Oct. 1: Kent State (1-4, 0-1 MAC) vs. Akron Zips (3-2, 1-0 MAC)

Tra’Von Chapman’s fourth quarter 43-yard completion to JoJo Natson

The Flashes came into the matchup against rival The University of Akron 1-3, but were looking to turn their season around in the MAC opener, and for most of the game, it looked like they had.

Kent State head coach Paul Haynes surprised all of Summit County when he elected to start then-running back Nick Holley at quarterback. Holley sent Dix Stadium into a frenzy when he capped off a 16 play, 97-yard drive by finding true freshman running back Justin Rankin in the end zone to give the Flashes a 27-24 lead with 1:02 left.

The Zips made the most of that 1:02, though, as Akron sophomore quarterback Tra’Von Chapman found senior receiver JoJo Natson for 43 yards down the Kent State sideline to put the Zips at the Kent State three-yard line with 26 second left.

The Zips found the end zone on the next play when junior receiver Mykel Traylor-Bennett rushed it in from three yards out to give Akron a 31-27 lead, the margin that they would win by.

Kent State – Akron from on Vimeo.

Henry Palattella is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected]