Kent State Finishes Historic Season

Despite a historic Kent State football season, the Golden Flashes trip to the bowl game ended with a loss to Arkansas State, 17-13.Quickly Access Bowl Game

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A desperate final drive without an All-American speedster came up just short as Kent State's first bowl appearance in 40 years ended in a 17-13 loss to Arkansas State in the Bowl on Sunday night.

With Dri Archer sidelined by a knee injury suffered in the second quarter, senior quarterback Spencer Keith led the Golden Flashes on a march that ended just 20 yards shy of the end zone. Dealing with his own injury suffered less than a minute earlier, Keith could only pick up five yards on a desperate scramble on fourth-and-eight with 52 seconds remaining on the scoreboard clock.

"It's a huge difference when you don't have the fastest player on the field," said Keith, referring to the loss of Archer. "We fought through it, though. We put together a good drive, but we just couldn't finish it out."

Keith had been knocked out of the game three plays earlier when he was hit in the ribs by blitzing Arkansas State defensive back Tausean Holmes. The senior stood his ground in the face of the rush, completing a 15-yard pass to Matthew Hurdle on fourth-and-eight.

Archer also returned to the game after hurting his knee when he hit the turf on a second-quarter play.

"I kept trying to go, but I was hopping around," said Archer. "I knew I was hurting the team when I was in there."

Archer played in the third and part of the fourth quarter, but couldn't answer the bell for Kent State's final offensive series of the the 2012-13 season.

"It was tough," said Archer, who stood on the sideline with a towel draped over his head after KSU took over at its own 23 yard line with 4:5 0 to play. "I had my head down the majority of the drive. I wanted to be out there with the guys."

Kent State took an early lead thanks in large part to Archer. The redshirt junior took an early-second-quarter reverse and sprinted 16 yards to the end zone for the game's opening score.

Arkansas State answered with back-to-back touchdowns in the second quarter – a 10-yard run by David Oku and a 31-yard pass from Ryan Alpin to J.D. McKissic.

After Kent State trimmed the Red Wolves' lead to 14-10 on a 42-yard field goal by Freddy Cortez, the two teams traded field goals in the third quarter before battling through a scoreless fourth. A-State's Brian Davis converted from 25 yards early in the third before Cortez booted a 26-yarder late.

"Obviously we didn't do enough in the red zone," said Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell. "We had to settle for field goals."

Sunday was also the final game on the Kent State sidelines for Head Coach Darrell Hazell and 18 seniors. 



The Jan. 6 game was broadcasted on ESPN and Watch ESPN with Mark Jones (play-by-play), Brock Huard (color) and Jessica Mendoza (sideline). Locally it was broadcasted on 106.9 FM WRQK, 640 AM WHLO and 1350 AM WARF and was heard anywhere onGoldenFlashes Radio on iHeartRadio.

Jan. 6, 2013: Game On - Golden Flashes Players, Fans Rally Together In Final Hours Before Bowl

Cheers of “We are Kent State” and “KSU” filled the downtown streets of Mobile, Ala., on Saturday night as Kent State University players, students, fans and alumni gathered for the parade followed by a university pep rally.

The annual Mardi Gras-style parade culminated a week of bowl-related celebrations and included floats brought in from New Orleans. The large, colorful displays complemented the performances of Kent State’s marching band and cheerleaders as well as those from local high schools.

Players lined the streets and caught trinkets and treats tossed from the floats as part of the evening excitement.

Kent State President Lester A. Lefton and his wife, Linda, rode in a convertible and greeted fans along the parade route. Race car driver Danica Patrick served as honorary parade grand marshal.

Following the parade, hundreds of Kent State fans gathered with the marching band and cheerleaders for a pep rally set with a backdrop of city fireworks.

The focus now shifts to the game itself as the Golden Flashes make their first bowl appearance in 40 years and seek their first-ever bowl victory.

Kent State (11-2) battles Arkansas State (9-3) Sunday at 9 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Visit the Kent State Golden Flashes website

Jan. 5, 2013: History Lesson

Before going to war on the football field for the Bowl, Kent State University's players had a chance to see what a real war was all about.

Players and coaches spent more than an hour Saturday touring the USS Alabama, a famed battleship that engaged in extensive combat during World War II. The ship is the centerpiece of Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Ala.

At first, many players smiled as they moved quickly around the ship’s decks and marveled at the enormous size of the 680-foot-long vessel. Some took pictures and admitted they had never been aboard a real military ship.

Most players had trouble navigating the small doorways and climbing the thin ladders to reach the upper decks. Many yelled from the top of the ship and took souvenir photos.

After posing for group pictures, the players spent more time learning about the history of the ship and reading about how the crew had earned nine battle stars for service during World War II.

Tour guides shared stories of how the crew bonded during times of attack and how each person had to pull together for the crew to survive. A few players also took time to chat with an Army veteran who had survived a death march after being captured in World War II.

The messages weren’t lost on the players or coaches, who talked openly about their admiration for the service of the brave sailors and others who served on board the battleship.

Kent State (11-2) battles Arkansas State (9-3) on Sunday at 9 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN. The Red Wolves players and coaches also visited the USS Alabama on Saturday.

Players and coaches were honored Saturday during a parade through downtown Mobile. The team also took part in a final walkthrough at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.


Jan. 4, 2013: Getting Personal: Kent State Players Visit Sick Children at Mobile Hospital

Kent State quarterback Spencer Keith, kicker Freddy Cortez and other players spent 90 minutes visiting with 10 children at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital.

Kent State head football coach Darrell Hazell also was present as players broke into groups of three and then began moving room-to-room spending time with the young patients ranging in age from 4 to 16. Hazell said he liked seeing how his players interacted with the kids, some of whom were unable to get out of their beds.


Players from Arkansas State also took part in the hospital visit, which is an annual tradition for this bowl game, now in its 15th year. 

Cortez had fun teasing a 12-year-old boy who admitted his was rooting for the Red Wolves and was even wearing an Arkansas State hat in his hotel room.

“We’ll still play hard for you,” Cortez said before he and two others posed for a picture with this young man.

Kent State (11-2) battles Arkansas State (9-3) on Sunday at 9 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.

On Saturday, players and coaches will take a group photo during a tour of the USS Alabama Battleship, and they will be honored during a parade through downtown Mobile. The team also will conduct a final walkthrough at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Jan. 3, 2013: Family Affair: Kent State Quarterback Facing More than Just Opponent in Bowl

Kent State Quarterback Spencer Keith may have been in the stands for Sunday’s Bowl in Mobile, Ala. even if the Golden Flashes hadn’t earned a trip to the game.

Keith’s parents and brother all graduated from Arkansas State, and at one time, he wanted to play for the Red Wolves.

A Little Rock native, Keith said he is taking the family rivalry in stride.

“It’s definitely a little different that (Kent State’s opponent) is from my home state,” Keith said. “There’s a little connection there but my family is definitely rooting for Kent State in this game.”

Teammates only recently learned of their quarterback’s family ties to the opposition. Running back Dri Archer said he and other players are teasing Keith, but they know he’s focused on a Kent State win.

Family aside, Keith said he recognizes the challenge ahead for a program playing in its first bowl game in 40 years.

“We’re focused,” Keith said. “We realize we have a chance to make history and we’re going to do that.”

The Golden Flashes practiced for nearly two hours Thursday morning. Later in the day, 10-15 players visited with children at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile.

Kent State (11-2) battles Arkansas State (9-3) Sunday at 9 p.m. on ESPN.

On Friday, players and coaches will be honored with a luncheon in downtown Mobile; the team will also practice again at the University of South Alabama.


Jan. 2, 2013: Golden Flashes Arrive in Mobile, Ala. for Bowl

The Kent State Golden Flashes were greeted with cheers and police escorts Wednesday as the football team arrived in Mobile, Ala. for its first bowl game in 40 years.

City leaders, local football fans, and representatives from the Bowl rolled out the red carpet for Kent State’s players and coaches. The Golden Flashes took part in a welcome celebration Wednesday evening at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and then had a chance to walk on the stadium turf.

Mobile Mayor Sam Jones presented the key to the city to Kent State Athletic Director Joel Nielsen.

As part of the evening’s entertainment, several members of the team took to the microphone and did their own play-by-play of the Sugar Bowl as it was projected on several big-screen televisions at the stadium.  

Kent State (11-2) battles Arkansas State (9-3) Sunday at 9 p.m.

Head coach Darrell Hazell and Nielsen met briefly with members of the local media prior to the welcome celebration.

On Thursday, 10-15 members of the football team will visit with children at USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital and the team will practice at the University of South Alabama.


POSTED: Monday, January 7, 2013 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 11:41am
Eric Mansfield