In applauding his Kent State football team, Coach Darrell Hazell points to the effort, maturity and attention to detail of the players. Those traits are just what Don James would like to see. James was the last coach to lead Kent to such football heights, way back in the year of the OPEC oil embargo and the Triple Crown of Secretariat.
What Hazell and his club have done is outpace the legendary James gang, the victory over Bowling Green on Saturday the 10th of the season, delivering a Mid-American Conference East Division title and a spot in the MAC championship game at the end of the month. This week finds the Golden Flashes ranked in all three major ratings, including 23rd in the Bowl Championship Series poll.
Making the season such a delight isn’t merely the improbable, though with 14 wins in the past 16 games dating to last year, expectations are changing. The pleasure has been the resilience of the players and the coaches.
Take the past three weeks: down to the University of Akron, wobbly after taking a big lead at Miami of Ohio, down in the third quarter against Bowling Green. In each game, Kent has gathered and asserted its superior play, usually led by a rugged offensive line opening the way for the superb running duo of Dri Archer and Trayion Durham, all aided by an opportunistic defense.
Now comes Ohio University on Friday, then the league championship, plus a likely bowl game, room, in other words, to add to the victory total, and to relish the spirit of this group.