Kent State outscored Ohio 17-0 in the second half after trailing by seven at intermission to defeat the Bobcats 24-14 Saturday afternoon at Peden Stadium. The win by the Golden Flashes was their first in Athens since 1984 and ended a six-game winless streak in the series.
Sophomore quarterback Freddie Ray, making his first career start for the injured Dontrell Jackson, rushed for 94 yards on 18 carries, while completing six-of-16 pass attempts for 79 yards. Joe Sherrill scored both of Ohio's touchdowns, finishing with 71 yards on 22 tries.
Ohio (1-6, 1-4 in the Mid-American Conference) jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Joe Sherrill capped an eight-play, 56-yard drive with a four-yard plunge. The Bobcats gained field position after Trendale Perkins made the first of two fumble recoveries during the contest. Two big plays by Ray assisted the drive - a 13-yard keeper on the second play and a 21-yard completion to Justin Halada to earn a first down at the eight.
Kent State, 4-4 and winners of three straight for the first time since 1987, evened the score on its next possession. From the 21, the Golden Flashes took seven plays to drive 77 yards. Quarterback Joshua Cribbs completed passes of 14 and 27 yards on two of the first three plays, with a 25-yard run by Chante Murphy in between. Murphy added three more rushes in the drive, moving KSU from the Ohio 13 to the 2 before Cribbs found Jurron Kelly in the back of the endzone for the score.
A 98-yard drive, the longest of the season, put the Bobcats ahead by a touchdown. It took 16 plays and lasted 6:57 following a downed punt at the Bobcat 2. Ohio converted on third-and-one at their 48, then made a fourth-and-four at the Kent 25. On the next play, Jason Caesar carried 14 yards to the six, before Joe Sherrill used the next two carries to cross the goal line. The final play came with just 41 seconds left before intermission and covered the final two yards.
Kent State closed to within four, 14-10, in the third quarter with a 23-yard field goal by Dave Pavich. Ohio had two drives stall in Golden Flashes territory before Dave Zastudil punts. Another Zastudil punt, this one to the Kent State 8, was the prelude to KSU's go-ahead drive. The Golden Flashes went the distance on 11 plays, including a quarterback draw by Cribbs that covered 29 yards to the Ohio 1. The extra point gave Kent State a 17-14 lead with 8:49 left in the contest.
A strange series of plays sealed the Bobcats' fate. After pinning Kent State deep with a Zastudil kick, Ohio seemingly got the break it needed. Perkins recovered a bad shotgun snap at the Kent State four, putting the Bobcats in position for a go-ahead or game-tying score. But on third-and-goal at the five, Ray fumbled the ball moments before the play ended and Shannon Davis scooped it up and headed 95 yards the opposite way.