Kent State University's (4-4, 3-2) three second-half turnovers resulted in 20 points as the Flashes defeated Ball State University (2-7, 1-4) 33-14 on Joshua Cribbs day.
Leading 13-7 with 12 minutes ramaining in the third quarter, senior linebacker Dorian Wood was called for a roughing-the-passer personal foul, giving Ball State an automatic first down. Two plays later, Wood picked off a Keith Wenning pass and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown.
"The personal foul call in college football is really exaggerated," Head Coach Doug Martin said. "We are telling our guys not to hit helmet-to-helmet, but we're going to let the dogs loose. If we make a mistake, we're going to make a mistake going 100 miles-her-hour. Dorian is a very intelligent person and plays with a lot of intelligence--those kind of players are fun to coach."
Later in the quarter, Cobrani Mixon stripped Ball State's Eric Williams and Jake Dooley recovered the fumble at Kent's 34 yard line.
Spencer Keith (18-38, 252 yards, one TD) then found Tyshon Goode in the back of the endzone from five yards out to give Kent a 26-14 lead (an attempted two-point conversion failed).
In the fourth, Josh Pleasant picked off a tipped-pass for his second interception of the game and returned it 31 yards into Ball State territory.
Two plays later, Doug Martin flung open the back pages of his playbook.
After receiving an immediate pass from Keith along the line of scrimmage, Sam Kirkland took a step back and found a wide open Tim Erjavec for a 42 yard score.
"It was fun," Kirkland said. "I didn't think Coach Martin would give me another chance after I threw a pick against Boston College."
As a team, Kent State averaged nearly five yards a carry on the ground. Andre Flowers rushed for 77 yards on 16 carries, Jacquise Terry gained 54 yards on nine carries and Dri Archer ran for 44 yards on seven carries, one of which Archer bounced outside and sprinted untouched for a 10 yard touchdown.
Flowers was used exclusively in the fourth quarter after Dri archer lost a fumble and Jacquise Terry was taken out due to a bum shoulder that had bothered him all game.
Spencer Keith was inefficient but effective, completing under 50 percent of his passes but throwing for 252 yards on a windy day, mostly in large chunks. Goode and Kirkland hauled in six passes each for 64 and 57 yards, respectively.
Keith also threw two passes, one in each half, that easily could have been intercepted. One of those would have been returned for an easy Ball State touchdown.
The Flashes out-gained Ball State 452 total offensive yards to 272.
Cobrani Mixon and Brian Lainhart collided going after an interception in the fourth quarter. Lainhart returned a couple of plays later, Mixon did not.
Joshua Cribbs had his #9 jersey retired at halftime following a video montage of his greatest plays while in a Flashes uniform. Cribbs also donated $100,000 to the university, equal to the amount of his four-year scholarship.
"I'm trying to set a precedent to guys who get into the [NFL]," Cribbs said. "This school has changed drastically. We used to have astroturf--it really hurt to fall on that. [the football program] is really going up from here."
Doug Martin had a message for fans heading into Kent's game against Temple.
"The winner of that game is going to have a lot to say about who wins the MAC East Championship," Martin said. "We need everybody--everybody--here to help ths football team get this thing done. We have got to have a home-field advantage next week. I'm hoping and praying people will come out and make this an exciting football game."