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(Saturday, September 29)
Final Score: Kent State 45, Ball State 43
Kent, OH (Sports Network) - Freddy Cortez kicked a 25-yard field goal with six seconds remaining, lifting the Kent State Golden Flashes to a wild 45-43 win over Ball State in a Mid-American Conference battle at Dix Stadium.
Spencer Keith threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns for the Golden Flashes (3-1, 2-0 MAC), who eclipsed 400 yards of total offense for the third straight game. Dri Archer scored on a 99-yard kickoff return and finished with 104 yards and two TDs receiving, plus another 72 yards on the ground. Trayion Durham led the rushing attack with 91 yards and two scores on 21 carries.
Keith Wenning threw for a career-high 445 yards and five touchdowns for the Cardinals (3-2, 1-1), who were coming off back-to-back wins over teams from BCS conferences. Willie Snead caught two of those TD passes and finished with 14 catches for 216 yards, both career-highs.
After a scoreless first quarter, Kent State's Durham capped a 12-play, 66-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run at the 13:27 mark of the second quarter.
Less than two minutes later, Ball State responded as Wenning found Jamill Smith for a six-yard touchdown pass.
However, Kent State answered right back on the ensuing kickoff, as Archer returned it 99 yards for a touchdown to put the Golden Flashes back on top.
A 31-yard field goal by Cardinals kicker Steven Schott trimmed the margin to 14-10 with 8:39 to play until halftime.
Kent State's offense went right back to work on the very next drive, which resulted in a 23-yard TD pass from Keith to Archer.
Schott was successful on a 44-yard field-goal attempt as time expired in the half, as the Cardinals went into the locker room trailing, 21-13.
Kent State picked up right where it left off to open the second half, as Keith found Matthew Hurdle for a 28-yard scoring strike less than two minutes into the third quarter.
Ball State made it a 28-19 game on Wenning's 27-yard TD pass to Snead at the 10:38 mark of the third quarter, although Schott missed the extra point.
The Cardinals cut the deficit to 28-26 on Wenning's 13-yard TD pass to Connor Ryan with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter.
The Golden Flashes added to their lead on the next drive as Keith hooked up with Archer again, this time for a 33-yard touchdown pass.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the fourth quarter. A 21-yard field goal by Schott with 13:40 remaining in regulation made it a 35-29 game.
Kent State answered with an eight-play, 76-yard drive, capped by Durham's second touchdown of the day on a one-yard run.
However, Ball State would not go away. Wenning trimmed the margin to 42-36 with a 19-yard scoring strike to Snead with 6:08 remaining. On Kent State's next play from scrimmage, Keith was intercepted by Cardinals defensive lineman Brandon Newman on a tipped pass. Two plays later, Wenning capitalized with a six-yard TD pass to Ryan to put Ball State on top, 43-42.
But the Golden Flashes would have the last laugh, as their final drive covered 86 yards in 15 plays to set up Cortez's game-winning field goal.
Ball State lost despite racking up 557 yards of total offense.
09/29 16:46:05 ET
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