Golden Flashes football team turning around abysmal history


Dix Stadium on September 29, 2012 during Kent’s 45-43 win over Ball State. Photo by BRIAN SMITH.

Jim Piascik

Last year’s team enjoyed some success, winning four of its last five games to finish 5-7. The finish was nice, but I wonder how many people realized it happened.

Even though I follow sports regularly, I could not have told you the team finished near a .500 record before looking it up. On campus, it seems to be assumed that the football program will not have much success.

In years past, I walked down the esplanade in front of the MACC, watching student after student decline the free tickets being given away to the football game that Saturday. Actually, “tickets” were not being given away; students were walking away from reminders that they are admitted free to games.

Students willfully ignored the football games despite not having to pay a penny to go to the game.

So few people showed up to the games that the university instituted the “90Ksu: Everyone Counts” campaign in an attempt to stay above NCAA attendance requirements and avoid being dropped out of the top NCAA class.

What a difference a year makes.

Here in 2012, Kent State football is led by exciting running backs Trayion Durham and Dri Archer, who are currently ranked 32nd and 33rd respectively in the nation in terms of rushing yards.

Archer in particular has been simply ridiculous, averaging 8.9 yards per carry and adding 314 yards on 22 receptions. In eight games, Archer tallied 16 touchdowns, a staggering number that has gained him national attention.

The Golden Flashes only lost one game – at Kentucky – this season and won six straight games for the first time since 1940. Head Coach Darrell Hazell turned this team around, leading it to a 7-1 record and its first win over a ranked team.

For the first time in my experience, there is a buzz on campus surrounding the football team. No longer are the Kent State Golden Flashes simply a laughingstock; this team is one to be feared and followed.

I mean, how amazing is it that Kent State received votes in the national polls? The Golden Flashes are ranked 30th in both the USA Today and AP polls. The same Golden Flashes that could not draw any fans and have not had a winning season since 2001 are ranked ahead of Michigan. Michigan!

Behind Archer, Durham, and Hazell, Kent State football matters. People care about the game each Saturday and Kent State pride actually exists.

Some people like Kent State because you can wear clothing from any college you like, as there is not as much pride here as say Ohio State. That seems to be changing, though. This is far from scientific, but I am fairly certain I have seen more Kent State football shirts this year than in the last three years combined.

So it is time to forget about Kent’s jaded past and tortuous mediocrity. Let all the Kent State football jokes go and focus on a hot team facing its rival, the Akron Zips.

Fill up Dix Stadium this Saturday, Kent State; this is our moment.

Contact Jim Piascik at [email protected].