Holley shines, Flashes win over Buffalo


Junior running back Nick Holley started as quarterback for the Flashes against The University of Akron on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, at Dix Stadium. 

Henry Palattella

Junior quarterback Nick Holley rushed for 224 yards and threw for 89 yards to help lead Kent State (2-4) to a 44-20 win over MAC East rival University at Buffalo (1-4).

“It was a great victory, great team victory,” Kent State head coach Paul Haynes said after the game. “All three phases did a very good job. Offensively I don’t know when the last time we scored 44 points and rushed the ball like we did.”

Holley became the first player to rush for 200 yards in a game, and the first Flash to score four touchdowns in a game since Eugen Jarvis in 2008.

The Flashes had one of their best offensive games in recent memory, compiling 430 total yards of offense —341 of which came on the ground. The Flashes also had their second straight game without a turnover.

Holley set the offense time early for the Flashes, breaking off two big runs that resulted in early points. Holley’s first run was a 65-yard scamper that helped set up a field goal by sophomore Shane Hynes.

Holley showed off the wheels again on the next drive when he ran for yards to give the Flashes a quick 10-0 lead, a lead that they would never relinquish.

Freshman running back Justin Rankin continued his dominance of Football Bowl Subdivision defenses, as he compiled 138 all-purpose yards before he left due to a leg injury. Rankin stayed on the ground after being tackled and was in visible pain.

Rankin’s injury left a hole in the Flashes backfield, one that was filled by redshirt freshman running back Will Matthews, who compiled 62 yards on the ground in relief.

The severity of Rankin’s injury could be a serious blow for the Flashes, as he has been an offensive catalyst this far and was starting to develop a connection with Holley in the passing game.

“We want to give credit where it’s due,” Hanyes said of the passing game. “It’s these guys too, our offensive linemen. You’ve got to block on the edges, you’ve got to block in front of him. It’s a team effort in front of him, if we can continue to do that we’ll have some chances.”

Senior safety Nate Holley had a record-breaking game as well, as he became the tenth player in Kent State history to amass 400 career tackles.

The Flashes defense also made their presence known on the scoreboard when junior linebacker James Alexander scooped up a Buffalo fumble and made it to the end zone.

“We never get upset at them (the opposing team) if they catch a couple balls on (us),” Haynes said. “Because that’s part of the game. We keep after it, and those guys do a good job of challenging themselves to get better.”

The Flashes are third in the MAC East, trailing both The University of Akron and Ohio University, who are 2-0 in conference play.

The Flashes will look to continue their winning ways when they take on Miami University (0-6) next Saturday. The game is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff in Oxford.

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