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Kent State Beats Liberty 17-10

The 2012 MAC East Football champions started off the season with a come from behind victory, but star Dri Archer suffered an undisclosed injury.

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Kent beats Liberty, but Archer is hurt

Kent State beating Liberty 17-10 was never the story in this one.

On the first drive of the game, Dri Archer appeared to have had his ankle smashed underneath a pile, and after coming back for a play in the second series, had to sit out the rest of the game. Head coach Paul Haynes said in his press conference that he thinks he will be OK, but even those reassuring words will not be enough to ease the tension of the Kent State faithful tonight.

Archer was unable to spark the offense like he did so many times last season. From the sidelines he had to watch Trayion Durham grind out drive after drive. Even the first drive, where the Flashes really did look golden, it took a Durham 10 yard run on third and eight to keep it alive. He converted two third and shorts as well.

Kent picked up 75 yards on that possession, it was over nine minutes long. But after that, the Golden Flashes accumulated only 81 yards the rest of the half. The offense was staggered, and it was the defense that was able to keep the team in the game.

"The D line had a crazy game. All night they were rushing the passer." Kent State defensive back Darius Polk said.

He is underselling his squad's own role, though - Liberty had less than twenty yards in the first half. It was a team effort, though the defensive line was dominant.

Colin Reardon

Kent State's first year starting quarterback Colin Reardon looked sharp and in control on the first drive, but he also fumbled the ball in his own territory later. That allowed Liberty to score their first three points.

He said that he felt comfortable on the first drive.

"I was anxious, I was actually surprised that I wasn't nervous. I was just anxious to get the snap. I knew since yesterday that we were going to pass the ball. Once I got that ball [to] Tyshon (Goode) [on] the first play of the game things were feeling good. The offensive line was blowing them off the ball. Everything was in our game plan and it worked perfect. ..It felt great," Reardon said.

Polk beat deep

Polk had his troubles as well. He gave up a 58-yard deep ball to Liberty receiver Darrin Peterson on the first play of the second half. He said that he was frustrated and knew that because of it the Flames were going to attack him the rest of the game.

"I was sick to my stomach when I allowed the deep ball over my head," Polk said.

He was able to defend two passes that caused a turnover on downs and all but clinched the Kent State victory.

"I knew that they were coming to me because I gave up that deep ball. So I had to keep my composure. I had to let that play go, and I needed to make a key play when my team needed me in the clutch," Polk said.

The BIG play

The play of the game happened in the fourth. The Golden Flahes had everything working for them and were able to put the first nail in the coffin when Reardon connected with Chris Humphrey for 42 yards and the score. It put his team up by seven with the extra point and decided the game.

Humphrey finished with 88 yards receiving.

"We realized later in the game that the corner...was getting tired. We just threw a simple throw and then I've been drilled into my head, by all the coaches that I have had, that you always make the first guy miss. Once you make the first guy miss it gets easier...so that's what I did and [Reardon] made a great read and threw a perfect ball, I couldn't ask for a better ball. Once I made the first guy miss I just got up field. And I knew that we needed it bad," Humphrey said.

Reaction: At least without Dri Archer, this team is not BCS bound.

Kent State was sloppy, taking nine penalties for a total loss of 79 yards. Its offense was awful for most of the game. Its shining light was the defensive line that was simply great. Without them Liberty may have gotten its offense going sooner, and there would have been a much different outcome.

Bowling Green, who destroyed Tulsa, is going to come into DIx Stadium and give the Flashes their first real test. I already predicted that if they lose their season is doomed. It seems realistic now.

Maybe Archer can add the "oomph" that is needed, but he is only one guy. The other guys are going to have to step up.

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Kent pulls off victory

With 90 seconds left, Kent State appears to have avoided the upset.

Though Liberty put a scare into the flashes, Kent's defense was able to force a turnover on downs. They got the ball at their own 40 and killed the clock.

Liberty 10

Kent State 17

Final.

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Kent leads with under five minutes to play

Humphrey's 40 yard reception for the score has put Kent back in the lead.

Kent's offense looks much better than it did an hour ago. And with just five minutes left Kent needs a stop to send Liberty home with a loss.

Liberty 10

Kent State 17

4:28 to play

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Kent ties game

Kent State turned it up on their last possession of the third (first of the fourth), but once again penalties killed them.

On a second and short from the 20 yard line, Kent was flagged for illegal substitution. they used the next play to gain most of it back but was stuffed on third and short. They had to settle for a Melchiori field goal which was good.

With a little under eleven minutes to play we are tied at Dix Stadium.

Kent 10

Liberty 10

10:57 to play.

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Kent trails 10-7

QB John Woodrum used a 58 yard bomb and some quick running plays to advance on Kent State.

Before you knew it, a nice flare pass to Gabe Henderson and with 7:25 Kent State is losing to Liberty.

Liberty does not appear to have the abiltiy to score often in this game, but Kent's offense has been dead since the opening drive also.

Kent is in trouble in this one if they continue this pace.

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Kent only up by four, Archer injured.

Kent has eight penalties totaling 81 yards in the first half. This plague, along with star running back Dri Archer's injury,  has staggered their offense.

Liberty has 15 yards overall in the first half. However, because of an untimely turnover by first year starting quarterback Colin Reardon  the Flames where able to use most of their profits to cash in three points.

Archer left early in the first and has only come back momentarily before sitting the rest of the half. His return is questionable.

Kent's defense has been strong throughout the night. Their defensive line has simply overwhelmed Liberty like they should.

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Kent State vs. Liberty: Preview

The 2012 MAC East Football champions will be the first MAC school to kickoff their football season. Dri Archer and friends will take on the Liberty Flames on Thursday at 6:00 pm.

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