Flashes football looks for third straight Wagon Wheel victory

The Flashes carry the Wagon Wheel back into the visitors locker room at Infocision Stadium in Akron after beating the Zips 35-3 on Saturday, Nov. 12. Photo by MATT HAFLEY.

Tim Dorst

“I coached in one of the great football rivalries in the country, Alabama versus Auburn,” Bowden said. “While that was always across the state, this one seems to be across the street. The fans sit in the same restaurants and have to live this one out all the time.”

Bowden said he conveyed the message to his players about the importance of this game, and he said he hope the Zips can come out aggressively and play a good game.

Kent State is looking to extend its winning streak to seven games and get one step closer to its first bowl game appearance in 40 years. Sophomore running back Trayion Durham said he feel this game will not be as easy as it might look like on paper.

“We know they haven’t played their best football in a couple years, but that doesn’t matter,” Durham said. “This is an important game. It’s bragging rights. This is also a MAC Conference game, so it’s definitely huge.”

Durham will likely be a big part of the Flashes offense Saturday, as he currently leads the team in rushing yards with 780.

Senior offensive lineman Kent Cleveland said there would be nothing sweeter than finishing his college career with the wagon wheel still on the Kent State campus.

“We haven’t won it three years in a row since the ‘50s,” Cleveland said. “We’re changing the program for the better and taking that next step, and to win that for a third straight year would make it even better.”

Cleveland added that the players keep this game on the their minds all season in anticipation.

“The clock ticks down every day leading up to this one,” Cleveland said. “It’s huge. We’ve got to win this one.”

One player who is new to the rivalry is freshman wide receiver Josh Boyle, the team’s leading receiver. Boyle said the Kent State-Akron has a completely different feel than other games ont he schedule.

“This isn’t like all the other MAC games,” Boyle said. “This one’s a lot bigger and another notch up. So everybody gets more pumped.”

Boyle also understands that Akron’s overall performance this season doesn’t change the way the team prepares in the days leading up to the game.

“They’ve been in every single game this season, so it’s not like they’re getting blown out every week,” Boyle said. “We’re going to have to go out there and fight and play just like we always do week in and week out.”

With the team coming off of its upset win over Rutgers this past week, Hazell said he isn’t considered that the Flashes will suffer a letdown against a hungry Zips team.

“Not with the way this team plays,” Hazell said. “They’re very mature, and they prepare hard every week. I’m very confident that our guys will prepare hard for this game. In a rivalry game like this, you better play as hard as you possibly can. Doesn’t matter who you play.”

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].

Stat Comparisons


Kent State:

Spencer Keith: 109-192, 1,163 yards, 8 TDs, 3 INTs

David Fisher: 14-23, 230 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT


Dalton Williams: 260-426, 2,691 yards, 22 TDs, 12 INTs

Kyle Pohl: 10-16, 153 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INTs


Kent State:

Trayion Durham: 166, carries, 780 yards, 4.7 avg, 8 TDs

Dri Archer: 86 carries, 766 yards, 8.9 avg, 9 TDs


Jawon Chisholm: 124 carries, 688 yards, 5.5 avg, 2 TDs

Conor Hundley: 62 carries, 254 yards, 4.1 avg, 3 TDs