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       === McKissic's 11 catches help Red Wolves upend Golden Flashes ===
 
 Mobile,  AL  (Sports Network)  - Freshman  wideout J.D.  McKissic hauled in 11
 catches  for  113 yards and  a score  on Sunday to  help Arkansas State earn a
 17-13  victory  over No.  25  Kent  State in  the  GoDaddy.com  Bowl at  Ladd-
 Peebles Stadium.
 
 McKissic  put the finishing touches on a record-breaking freshman campaign, as
 his 103 catches this season set a new school record.
 
 Ryan  Aplin threw the touchdown pass to McKissic and finished 21-of-30 for 213
 yards  without  an interception  for the  Red Wolves  (10-3), who finished the
 season  on  an eight-game  win streak en  route to their  first bowl win since
 joining the FBS in 1992.
 
 Defensive  coordinator John  Thompson served  as  ASU's interim  coach in  the
 triumph  after  head coach  Gus  Malzahn  left the  school  to  take over  the
 prestigious Auburn program.
 
 "That  was a  good one," Thompson said.  "Our guys stepped up with a minute to
 go.  We really needed a play, and our guys made one. It wasn't anything except
 for ballplayers. It wasn't anything special at all. We just made plays."
 
 Kent  State  had won  10 straight games  to close out  the regular season, but
 dropped  a 44-37  double overtime  decision to  Northern Illinois  in the  MAC
 Championship  game  that would  have sent  the Golden Flashes  (11-3) to a BCS
 bowl.
 
 Spencer  Keith  completed 17-of-33 passes  for 157 yards with an interception,
 while running back Dri Archer rushed for 77 yards and a score on nine carries,
 but  injured his knee  in the second quarter and was unavailable on the team's
 final drive.
 
 "We  would have loved  to get this win for our guys in that locker room," said
 Kent State coach Darrell Hazell, who coached the team for the final time after
 agreeing  to take over  the Purdue football program at the end of the year. "I
 have strong feelings for the guys in that locker room. It's hard."
 
 Kent  State took  its first touch deep into Arkansas State territory following
 Julian  Durden's  32-yard scamper down to  the 1-yard line. The Golden Flashes
 came  away empty  however, as Keith's third-down pass bounced off his intended
 receiver's  arm  and landed in  the hands  of Arkansas State linebacker Nathan
 Herrold.
 
 After  an  exchange of punts,  Kent State started its  third touch of the game
 from  their  own 34 less  than a minute into  the second quarter. Archer broke
 free  for  44 yards on  the first play from  scrimmage before a defensive pass
 interference  call on  3rd-and-19 gave the Golden Flashes a fresh set of downs
 at the Arkansas State 16.
 
 On  the next play,  Archer carried the ball 16 yards off the right end for the
 game's first touchdown to make it 7-0 with 12:10 left in the half.
 
 The  teams then  exchanged three-and-outs before the Red Wolves used a 9-play,
 60-yard  march to knot the game. McKissic hauled in three straight passes down
 to  the Kent  State 39 before Darion  Griswold followed two plays later with a
 21-yard grab to move Arkansas State into the red zone.
 
 Facing  3rd-and-1 from the Kent State 10, David Oku broke through the line and
 into  the end  zone for a 10-yard score  to pull the Red Wolves even with 5:40
 left in the first half.
 
 Following  another  Kent State three-and-out,  Arkansas State went 88 yards in
 nine plays to grab a lead it would not relinquish.
 
 Aplin  completed all six passes on the drive, including a 31-yard touchdown to
 McKissic  to  make it  14-7. Aplin  faked a  bubble screen  to his left before
 rolling right and finding McKissic for the score with 1:13 left in the half.
 
 Kent  State's  offense found  its rhythm  on the ensuing  touch, but the drive
 stalled  late and the Golden Flashes were forced to settle for a 42-yard field
 goal from Freddy Cortez to trim the deficit to 14-10 heading into the break.
 
 The Golden Flashes failed to carry that momentum into the second half, as they
 opened the third quarter with a three-and-out.
 
 Arkansas  State then  went 47 yards in  10 plays, but the drive stalled inside
 the 10-yard line when Oku was stuffed for a 1-yard loss on 3rd-and-2 to set up
 Brian Davis' 25-yard field goal, making it 17-10 with 8:35 left in the third.
 
 The  Golden  Flashes answered with a  long 13-play, 50-yard scoring drive, but
 Keith's  pass for  Archer fell incomplete on 3rd-and-7 from the Arkansas State
 9,  resulting in  a 26-yard field goal  from Cortez to bring Kent State within
 17-13 late in the third.
 
 Kent  State punted on  its next two touches as the offense struggled to find a
 rhythm, but the Golden Flashes still had one final possession trailing by four
 with 4:50 remaining in the game.
 
 Keith  kept the game  alive with a 15-yard pass to Matthew Hurdle on 4th-and-8
 down  to  the Arkansas  State 27, but  with 1:00 left  and facing another 4th-
 and-8,  Keith was flushed out of the pocket before being tripped up shy of the
 first down marker to turn the ball over on downs.
 
 "It was tough," Archer said of watching the final drive from the sidelines. "I
 had  my head down the majority of the drive. I wanted to be out there with the
 guys."
 
 The Red Wolves then ran out the remainder of the clock to secure the victory.
 
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 Kent  State was making its first appearance in a bowl game since 1972 ... Paul
 Haynes  will take  over  for Hazell  as  the Golden  Flashes'  head coach  ...
 McKissic  broke  Dwayne Frampton's  record of  94 catches  set last season ...
 It  was the first time these two schools have met ... Arkansas State lost last
 year's GoDaddy.com Bowl 38-20 to Northern Illinois.
 
 
 01/07 02:06:47 ET