Holley leads Flashes to first MAC win

Henry Palattella

Junior Nick Holley’s second start as quarterback proved to be just as fruitful as the first for the Flashes football team. He rushed for 224 yards and four touchdowns to lead Kent State (2-4, 1-1 Mid-American Conference) to a 44-20 victory over the University at Buffalo (1-4, 0-1 MAC).

Holley broke the game open early with two big runs: his first was a 65-yard scamper that set the Flashes up for a field goal, and his second run was a 67-yard touchdown run that extended the their lead to 10-0.

Holley also became the first Kent State player to rush for 200 yards in a single game since Dri Archer— a 2014 graduate — in 2012.

The Flashes gained 430 yard total, 341 of which came on the ground. True freshman Justin Rankin added 58 rushing yards, while redshirt freshman Will Matthews added 62 rushing yards in relief. Rankin also led the Flashes with 40 yards receiving.

Rankin could have complied more gaudy stats, but he sustained what looked to be a leg injury; He went down awkwardly after a run and stayed on the turf for several minutes in visible pain. He eventually stood up, but could not walk off the field under his own power. Rankin came into Saturday’s game averaging 115.6 all-purpose yards per game, which led all FBS freshman.

The Flashes defense stepped up after a rough outing last week against The University of Akron. Junior linebacker James Alexander took a Buffalo fumble 15 yards for a touchdown while fifth-year senior cornerback Najee Murray deflected five passes that were thrown his way. 

The Flashes special teams unit stepped up after a shaky game last week. Sophomore kicker Shane Hynes knocked in three field goals, while sophomore Raekwon James took a kickoff 66 yards to set up a Kent State touchdown.

True freshman Tyree Jackson started behind center for the Bulls, throwing for 250 yards and one touchdown. He also compiled 40 yards and a touchdown on the ground.

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