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2023 MAC Football Game Recap: Kent State Golden Flashes 38, Central Connecticut State Blue Devils 10

The Flashes win convincingly in a much-welcomed homestand after two brutal out-of-conference games.

Kent State v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Kent State Golden Flashes (1-2) exhibited a strong run game in a convincing win over a wounded Central Connecticut State (1-2), taking down the Blue Devils by a margin of 38-10 at Dix Stadium.

The Flashes established themselves early, converting a 12-play, 76-yard drive into a Gavin Garcia rushing touchdown from two yards out to get KSU up 7-0 on the first drive of the game before doubling up with a 40-yard passing connection between Michael Alaimo and Trell Harris to get to 14-0 with 5:21 to go in the first quarter.

Gavin Garcia would score his second touchdown of the day on a 25-yard burst to extend the lead to 21-0 just before the halftime break.

Meanwhile, CCSU stuggled to move the ball at all, with five of their seven first-half drives ending in punts and/or in four plays or less. Their other two drives ended in a turnover-on-downs in Kent State territory and an interception by Flashes linebacker Khalil Saunders.

The circumstances wouldn’t get much better in the third quarter, as a quick CCSU three-and-out would eventually manifest as a Michael Alaimo two-yard rushing score to put the Flashes up 28-0 just five minutes into the third quarter.

Jalani WIlliams would pick off CCSU’s spot starter QB Matt Jenner on the first play of the next drive, which Andrew Glass would convert for a short field goal to push the margin up to 31-0. Jayden Thomas would get the first rushing touchdown of his KSU career late in the third quarter, giving KSU the 38-0 lead.

CCSU would finally find paydirt with 11:28 remaining on a jack Barnum field goal from 28 yards out, then add on to the tally with a 17-yard run by backup QB Ricky Ortega to get to the final score of 38-10.

Michael Alaimo finished 12-of-16 for 172 yards, one touchdown and an interception, while Trell Williams led KSU’s receivers with three catches for 94 yards. Gavin Garcia paced the running game with 21 attempts for 125 yards and two scores. Xavier Williams had 55ards on 13 carries.

CJ West and Nick Giacolone led the defensive effort for the Flashes, with four tackles and two tackles-for-loss apiece, while Khalil Saunders and Jahlani Williams each had an interception.

For CCSU, Matt Jenner accepted quarterbacking responsibilities after an injury to their usual starter CJ Buell. Jenner finished 4-of-14 for 40 yards and two interceptions, while backup QB Ricky Ortega was 2-of-3 for 10 yards. Jenner added 30 yards on seven carries, while Ortega had nine carries for 22 yards and a score.

Davion Johnson was the only Blue Devil to haul in more than one reception, with three catches for 11 yards.

It was a long day at the office for the CCSU defense, with Kimal Clark leading all players with 13 tackles, including a tackle-for-loss. Clark was one of six Blue Devils to collect a tackle-for-loss, with Jack Stoll leading CCSU with 1.5. Tavian Montgomery picked off the lone interception.

Kent State will now prepare for a road trip to Fresno State, while CCSU is set to next complete against Brown University. Both games are scheduled for next Saturday.