- IMAGE: Kent State running back Anthony Meray breaks free for a first half touchdown run against visiting South Alabama, at Dix Stadium.
- IMAGE: Head Coach Darryl Hazell argues a penalty call with an official during the second half of Kent State's 33-25 win over South Alabama.
- IMAGE: The Kent State defense smothers South Alabama quarterback C.J. Bennett.
- IMAGE: Kent State students cheer the Golden Flashes on to victory over South Alabama at Dix Stadium.
- IMAGE: Darryl Hazell and the team serenade the band following his first-ever victory as Kent State Golden Flashes head coach.
- IMAGE: The scoreboard in Dix Stadium joins the fans in congratulating Coach Darryl Hazell on his win over South Alabama.
Golden Flashes Win 33-25, Hazell Gets First Win as Kent State Head Football Coach
A dominant first half pushed Kent State past South Alabama 33-25 Saturday at Dix Stadium. Trailing 33-0, the Jaguars made a hard second half charge and took the game down to the last play. However, sophomore safety Luke Wollet made the game's final tackle at the Kent State 23, shortly after making his second interception of the game.
The Golden Flashes' defense set its offense up with short fields on three occasions in the first half, which all led to points. Kent State took its second possession 50 yards capped off by a three-yard touchdown run by freshman Anthony Meray, who also had an 11-yard carry on the drive.
On the Flashes' very next drive, a 21-yard punt return by junior Eric Adeyemi to the South Alabama 29, set up a field goal by junior Freddy Cortez. Wollet kept his offense on a short field with the next possession after intercepting a pass and returning it 22 yards to the USA 42. On a third-and-nine, junior quarterback Spencer Keith dropped back to pass, evaded a rush and ran right, 15 yards into the end zone, giving Kent State a 16-0 lead.
On the Flashes' next possession, Cortez knocked in a 35-yard field goal. The Kent State defense kept the pedal down as senior Norman Wolfe picked off a pass and returned it to the South Alabama 28. On the very next play, Meray ran over left tackle and darted 28 yards for a touchdown, giving the Flashes a 26-0 lead.
The defense created more opportunities in second half as sophomore Roosevelt Nix forced a fumble that was snagged in the air by freshman Calvin Tiggle, who went 27 yards down the sideline to the USA 11. Two plays later, Keith found junior Tyshon Goode in the back of the end zone from 10 yards out.
Trailing 33-0, the Jaguars responded with 17 straight points in the third quarter. South Alabama then took a long fourth quarter drive down to the Kent State five, before the Flashes' defense came up with a stop on fourth-and-goal with 9:37 left in the game.
After holding Kent State to a three-and-out, the Jaguars wasted little time marching down the field for a touchdown and a two-point conversion to make it a one possession game (33-25). On the game's final drive South Alabama quarterback C.J. Bennett completed passes for 23 yards and 34 yards before time expired.
The Golden Flashes open Mid-American Conference play Saturday, Oct. 1 at Ohio.