Flashes football cruises past EMU for third straight victory



Senior running back Dri Archer is congratulated by offensive lineman Phil Huff during Kent’s game against Towson. Photo by Phil Botta.

Tim Dorst

For the first time in 35 years, the Kent State football team has won four of its first five games.

The Flashes ran away with the lead in the third quarter on its way to a 41-14 win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles Saturday afternoon in Ypsilanti, Mich.

The victory improves the Flashes to 4-1 for the first time since 1977 and marks its third straight win against a Mid-American Conference opponent.

After practice Tuesday, coach Darrell Hazell said what makes junior running back Dri Archer so special is his ability to make an impact on the field whether he’s running, receiving or returning kickoffs. Archer displayed this versatility once again against the Eagles.

After sophomore defensive back Calvin Tiggle halted EMU’s drive with an interception, Archer scored a touchdown from a pass from senior quarterback Spencer Keith in the second quarter. The score put the Flashes ahead 10-0 and gave Archer his third receiving touchdown in the last two games.

After EMU running back Bronson Hill broke off a 68-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to three, the Flashes responded almost immediately. A 28-yard pass from junior quarterback David Fisher to Archer set up a four-yard score by sophomore running back Trayion Durham. Kent State led 17-7 at halftime.

Archer didn’t waste any time getting the Flashes on the scoreboard at the start of the third quarter. The junior showcased his speed again as he returned the second-half kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, his third kick return score of the season.

Later in the quarter, the Flashes called a fake punt on a fourth-down-and-1, and freshman punter Anthony Melchiori ran up the middle for a 42-yard gain down to the EMU 28-yard line. Keith completed a 26 yard pass to freshman receiver Josh Boyle, and Durham powered the ball into the end zone for his second touchdown of the day. Durham led the Flashes’ in rushing Saturday with 116 yards on 24 carries.

Archer found the end zone again at the 3:04 mark in the third quarter as he zipped past the defense for a 64-yard rushing touchdown, capping 28 unanswered points for the Flashes.

Archer finished the game with 222 all-purpose yards — 72 rushing, 52 receiving and 98 yards on kickoff returns.

Kent State’s defense applied pressure on the Eagles for much of the game, paying specific attention to the passing game. The Flashes held sophomore quarterback Tyler Benz to just 93 passing yards and intercepted him twice in the game. In total, EMU had 200 totals yards and only seven first downs.

Senior kicker Freddy Cortez got the Flashes on the board early in the first, hitting a 42-yard field goal with the wind at his back. Cortez, who successfully converted his first field goal from beyond 40 yards this season, was 2-for-2 in field goal attempts in the game.

Archer’s Stats

VS. Rushing Rush TDs Receiving Rec. TDs Kickoff Returns KR TDs
Towson 54 2 8 0 155 1
Kentucky 78 1 29 0 98 0
Buffalo 127 1 32 0 0 0
Ball State 72 0 104 2 174 1
EMU 72 1 52 1 98 1
Total Stats: 403 rushing yards, 225 receiving yards, 525 kick return yards, 11 total touchdowns.

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected].