Quarterback Spencer Keith entered the fourth game of Kent State’s football season Saturday afternoon without a touchdown pass and once again in jeopardy of losing his starting position.
Shaking off a slow start against visiting Ball State, Keith finally showed the kind of veteran response KSU coaches, players and fans have been hoping for all season. Keith threw for 295 yards and a career-high tying three touchdown passes.
But the Flashes third-year starter was most impressive in engineering a final game-winning 86-yard scoring drive (without the aid of a timeout), to set up a 25-yard Freddy Cortez field goal that clinched Kent State’s 45-43 victory in front of 21,657 - the 10th-largest crowd in Dix Stadium history.
“We were confident because of how well we played on offense all day,” Keith said. “We knew we were going to go down and score.”
Despite his string of eight games without an interception coming to a halt on a tipped ball that resulted in an interception on the previous drive, Keith confidently took the ball one last time with just under two minutes remaining on the clock.
Methodically, he drove Kent State (3-1 overall, 2-0 in the Mid-American Conference) down field on 15 plays that featured one key pass play after another. Included in the stretch was clutch third-and fourth down throws to receiver Matthew Hurdle, who finished with a career-high five receptions.
“I thought (Keith) played excellent today,” Flashes second-year head coach Darrell Hazell said. “He was special…I’m proud of him.”