Quick Hits: Kent State 35, No. 18 Rutgers 23
Kent State picked up their first win over a ranked opponent in program history with their 35-23 win over Rutgers on the road.
|Kent State defensive end Mark Fackler celebrates his interception returned for a touchdown. (US Presswire)|
KENT STATE WON. When Rutgers scheduled Kent State for Homecoming, there was no way to foresee that the Golden Flashes would enter the game having won 10 of their last 12 games. Kent State entered the game unintimidated, possibly because it was their fourth straight Homecoming game this month. After spoiling the big weekend for Western Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Army; Kent State improved to 7-1 with their 35-23 win at Rutgers.
HOW KENT STATE WON: Kent State intercepted Rutgers' quarterback Gary Nova four times in the first half, scoring 14 points off the turnovers to jump out to a 21-3 halftime lead. Facing an uphill battle in the second half, Rutgers was forced to abandon the power rushing attack with Jawan Jamison and take to the air in order to close the gap. Kent State running back Trayion Durham ran for a season-high 131 yards, and Dri Archer added 79 yards against a tough Rutgers' defense.
Nova did get Rutgers back into the game late in the third quarter with a nine-play drive that ended in a 24-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Coleman. With the Kent State lead cut to 11 points, the defense - fresh off their longest rest since the first quarter - followed the score by forcing a punt. But when Nova got the ball back, it was just three plays until he was intercepted again and the Golden Flashes pulled away in the fourth quarter.
WHEN KENT STATE WON: Gary Nova was moving the offense along midway through the fourth quarter, but when he threw interception number six the end was inevitable. The Homecoming crowd fell silent, and Kent State celebrated the upset victory in a very disappointed High Point Solutions Stadium.
WHAT KENT STATE WON: With win No. 7, the Golden Flashes guaranteed their first winning season in more than a decade, a week after likely securing their first bowl bid since 1972. Still don't believe it might have been the biggest win in program history? It was their first ever victory over a ranked opponent and the first time since 1920 the Golden Flashes had won six games in a row. The Kent State team that currently sits alone on top of the East division standings looks very different than the one that lost 47-14 to Kentucky in early September.
WHAT RUTGERS LOST: The Scarlet Knights do not lose anything in terms of the Big East tile race, which is the "glass half full" view of things. But in addition to likely losing their Top 25 ranking, they have eliminated the possibility of causing a little havoc in the BCS picture. They still have an opportunity to reach a BCS bowl game, by virtue of the Big East's one BCS bid. It was also several steps back for Gary Nova, who in addition to the six interceptions had his worst passing day (54.3%) of the season.
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