Kent State football achieves first win of the season


Fifth year tight end Casey Pierce scores a touchdown against Army at the homecoming game at Dix Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. The Flashes went on to win their first game 39-17.

Taylor Rosen

Box Score

The Kent State football team’s long wait for a win is over. 

As rain poured down on Dix Stadium Saturday afternoon, the Kent State football snapped its winless drought and celebrated Homecoming with a commanding 39-17 win over the Army Black Knights.

“Well of course, finally. We finally got over the hump to get a win,” Kent State coach Paul Haynes said. “Really I am so proud of these guys for all that we’ve been through this year. All the ups and downs, and more downs than ups, but they kept on fighting.”

A rocky start

The Flashes (1-6, 0-3 MAC) started sluggishly in the first half of the Homecoming game. Sophomore quarterback Colin Reardon threw a pass that was intercepted on the very first play from scrimmage.

“You just have to shake those things off,” Reardon said. “Those things are going to happen because everybody makes mistakes, and that was a mistake.”

Reardon played better after making the early mistake, but he must take better care of the football and learn to fight for another down. And fight back the Flashes did, putting up 26 points to Army’s seven in the second half en route to their first victory of the season.t

Do-or-die play

Haynes showed belief in his team when making the decision to go for it on 4th and 5th on the Army 40 yard line midway through the third quarter. The decision paid off, as the Flashes converted and ended up finishing the drive with a field goal to extend their lead to six.

“Every possession is key against them, and we knew that we needed to steal a possession, and that was our way of stealing a possession instead of punting,” Haynes said. “We did not want to give them back a possession.”

Slow signs of improvement

The Flashes did a great job of moving the football against Army, as the team finished the day with 422 total yards, 107 of which came through the rushing attack. Reardon was 27 of 40 for 360 yards four touchdowns and the one and only early interception.

Kent State executed the fundamentals of the game better in the Homecoming win over Army, too, something they haven’t done all season up until Saturday.

“It is big to get the win on Homecoming, and it was in front of the alumni and former players,” Haynes said. “We kind of talked to those guys about the pride of this place and the pride of putting on this uniform. That’s what makes this win much more special.”

The Flashes scored points on all eight of their trips to the red zone, and kicker Anthony Melchiori went 4-for-4 on the day.

Looking ahead

Kent State must be able to slow down the Miami rushing attack if they want to have a chance of winning two in a row. Army gashed the Flashes in the first half by rushing for 171 yards on 28 carries as they finished with 295 rushing yards on the day.

“We know who we are inside, and we know our goal so for the most part we all feel the same way,” sophomore safety Nick Cuthbert said. “We all know we’re going to continue to fight, no matter what.”

The Flashes will go for two in a row next week in Oxford when they take on Miami. The game will be streamed on ESPN 3 and will start at 2:30 p.m.

Playoff aspirations alive

At this late point in the season, the Flashes (1-6) are a football team fighting for its bowl game life with only five games left in the college football season.

Because the MAC added two more bowl games this year, there is still a small glimmer of hope among fans that if the Flashes win out and go 6-6, they can make one.

Contact Taylor Rosen at [email protected].