Kent State runs past Miami 48-32


Kent State freshman running back Julian Durden runs the ball past Miami University senior linebacker Pat Hinkel in a game Miami at Yager Stadium, Oxford, OH, on Saturday, Nov 10. Photo by Kristin Bauer.

Tim Dorst

Kent State’s running game has been the main strength of the team throughout the season, but the Flashes’ extraordinary display on Saturday exceeded anyone’s expectations.

The Flashes racked up a season-high 399 rushing yards in a 48-32 victory over the Miami RedHawks Saturday afternoon at Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio. Kent State won its eighth straight game, improving their record to 9-1 and 5-0 in the Mid-American Conference.

Running backs Dri Archer and Trayion Durham both eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season with their outstanding performances. Archer rushed for 151 yards on 11 carries, while Durham compiled a career-high 172 yards on the ground.

Durham and Archer became the first Kent State players to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since Julian Edelman in 2008. They are also the first players to hit the 1,000-yard mark in the same season in team history.

Head coach Darrell Hazell said he is impressed with the way Durham and Archer get better each week.

“These are two spectacular players,” Hazell said. “They both give you a little of something different, a change of pace. They’re a very good tandem, and they complement each other extremely well.”

Durham currently leads the team with 1,059 rushing yards while Archer is a close second with 1,043.

The Flashes controlled much of the first half with their rushing attack, beginning with Durham’s 10-yard touchdown run to put the team on the board in the first quarter. After forcing Miami to punt, the Flashes went 69 yards on four plays and capped off the drive with a 35-yard touchdown run by Archer.

Archer found the end zone again on Kent State’s next drive, this time running a sweep to the right 43 yards for the score. The Flashes led 21-0 after the first quarter.

Kent State’s first drive of the second quarter consisted mostly of Durham and senior quarterback Spencer Keith. A couple runs by Keith and a 10-yard pass from Keith to tight end Tim Erjavec set the stage for Durham, who punched it into the end zone from nine yards out. Durham scored two touchdowns in the game.

Keith added 76 rushing to the team’s total, including a 28-yard scramble for a touchdown in the second quarter. Kent State lead 35-10 at halftime.

Miami began to gain momentum in the third quarter, sparked by a 47-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zac Dysert to wide receiver Andy Cruse. Dysert found Cruse again on a two-point conversion attempt to make it a three-possession game.

Senior kicker Freddy Cortez booted a season-long 48-yard field goal toward the end of the third to put the Flashes back up by 20 points. Early in the fourth quarter, Archer took a pass from Keith and zipped past the Miami defense en route to a 33-yard touchdown.

Archer now has 20 total touchdowns this season, which places him second behind only Edelman for most touchdowns in a season at Kent State.

The RedHawks added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, a nine-yard pass play to Cruse and a seven-yard toss to running back Dawan Scott. Dysert finished the game with 455 passing yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

Kent State forced two turnovers in the game on interceptions by junior defensive ends Mark Fackler and Zack Hitchens. The Flashes lead the nation with a +20 turnover margin this season.

The Flashes will now prepare for another crucial MAC game on the road against the Bowling Green Falcons next weekend, and Hazell said the Flashes can’t afford to rest on their laurels.

“We’ll enjoy this win tonight and then we’ll look at Bowling Green tomorrow,” Hazell said.

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].