Flashes pick off Wagon Wheel from Akron

Sports staff

Kent State’s defense scored two touchdowns and sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith threw for 186 yards as the Flashes reclaimed the Wagon Wheel from Akron in a 28-17 win today at Dix Stadium on homecoming.

With 3:08 left in the fourth quarter and Kent State leading 21-17, Akron sophomore quarterback Patrick Nicely fumbled in his own end zone. Sophomore linebacker Luke Batton recovered the fumble for the touchdown that sealed the victory for the Flashes.

Freshman safety Luke Wollet intercepted a Nicely pass for a touchdown in the first quarter in a similar situation. Nicely was pinned back in his own end zone when Wollet recorded his first career interception.

While Nicely struggled, throwing three interceptions, Keith bounced back from his recent slump. The sophomore quarterback led the Flashes on two scoring drives in the first half. The first, a 63-yard drive, was capped off by sophomore wide receiver Tyshon Goode’s touchdown reception in the back corner of the endzone. The second, a 90-yard drive, was finished by junior running back Jacquise “Speedy” Terry’s eight-yard touchdown run.

The Flashes’ No. 1-ranked rush defense allowed runs of 34 and 17 yards, but Akron finished the game with just 62 yards on 35 attempts. The defense also collected seven sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Freshman defensive lineman Roosevelt Nix continued to play well off the bench, finishing with five tackles, 3.5 sacks and the force fumble that Batton recovered.

Akron opened up the scoring early with a quick seven-play, 89 yard drive. A roughing the passer call on third down kept Akron’s drive alive, and three plays later Akron senior running back Alex Allen punched the ball in from two yards out.

From there, it was all Kent State.

The Flashes scored 21 unanswered points behind Wollet’s interception for a touchdown and Keith’s passing. Short passes and option runs moved the ball effectively for Kent State, while its defense stymied Akron.

Using a hurry-up offense, Akron drove 36 yards in the final two minutes of the half to set up a 41-yard field goal.

Akron scored again 10 minutes into the second half on a clock-consuming 75-yard drive. After setting up for a short field goal attempt on fourth and three, Akron faked and sent senior wide receiver Jeremy LaFrance scampering to the end zone for the score.

Both defenses slugged it out in the fourth quarter until Nix knocked the ball out of Nicely’s hand for the fumble recovery touchdown.

Kent State forced two more turnovers by Nicely in the final three minutes of the game. On the Zips ensuing drive, junior defensive back Norman Wolfe picked off Nicely’s deep ball in the end zone. Two minutes later, senior defensive back Calvin Taylor snagged Nicely’s desperation heave to seal the game.

What was left of the 24,221 fans at the game rushed the field as the clock ran out.

With the win, Kent State beat Akron for the first time since 2006 and won on homecoming for the first time since 2006 as well.

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Kent State vs. Akron