Welcome home, Wagon Wheel

Josh Johnston

The football team played so-so Saturday night.

Who cares? We won.

Akron is far and away the worst team in the Mid-American Conference, losing to lesser division opponents like Gardner-Webb.

So what? We won.

Questions still surround the offense’s ability to move the ball downfield consistently.

Are you listening? None of that matters. We won.

The Wagon Wheel is ours, back from its three-year captivity in Akron. President Lefton, throw out that squirrel statue in the Student Center and give the Wheel a place of honor. Better yet, give it your office for the year.

Live this up Kent State. We’ve had the Wagon Wheel only four times in the last 15 years. Let’s bring it to the Kent State-Akron basketball games and taunt the AK Rowdies with it. Heck, bring it to the Flashes’ volleyball game against the Zips in November just to rub it in their faces.

After all the heartbreak we’ve gone through to get the Wagon Wheel back, we deserve to celebrate. Anybody remember the 28-20 upset at Summa Field last year? Or the missed chip-shot field goal by Nate Reed in overtime two years ago? Or Akron’s 17-point fourth quarter, come-from-behind victory three years ago?

Kent State looked to be heading for more epic failure toward the end of Saturday’s game. Up 21-17 late in the fourth quarter, the Flashes punted the ball away and downed it on Akron’s 4-yard line.

Normally, that’s Kent State’s recipe for disappointment.

But this year’s Flashes aren’t the Bad News Birds of years past. Kent State’s brick-wall run defense stuffed Akron running back Alex Allen on first down. Sophomore Patrick Nicely missed his man on second down. And on third down, super freshman Roosevelt Nix strip-sacked Nicely in the end zone to set up a fumble recovery touchdown.

It’s a shame more of the 24,221 fans didn’t stick out the yawn-inducing second half to rush the field as the clock hit zero. For most students, that might have been their only chance while at Kent State to rush the field.

The football team will probably want to look forward to its back-to-back road games and not dwell on Saturday. But fans, by all means dwell on it. Savor the moment. Brag about it to your Akron friends. Take a cell phone picture of yourself with the Wagon Wheel and make it your Facebook profile picture.

Why? Because we won.

Contact Josh Johnston at [email protected].