KENT: Dri Archer added another dimension to his already multi-dimensional repertoire during Kent State’s 31-17 victory over Army on Saturday.
Archer, who had already scored as a kick returner (three times), rusher (six times) and receiver (three times), showed off his throwing arm against the Black Knights.
He put an exclamation point on the Golden Flashes’ seven-play, 60-yard first drive with a perfectly executed 24-yard halfback pass to quarterback Spencer Keith.
“Whenever you play a team that plays so much man coverage and you have five eligible [receivers] out, the one guy they don’t account for is the sixth guy and that’s the quarterback,” KSU coach Darrell Hazell said. “We got the look we wanted and did a great job executing it across the board. It was a good pass and a good catch.”
Add Archer’s latest wrinkle to 222 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown on just 12 carries, and it’s easy to see why he was once again named the Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week on Monday.
Archer also had two catches and had half of his carries go for 12 yards or more, including an 87-yard touchdown sprint in the fourth quarter that sealed the Flashes’ victory.
Archer’s statistics continue to grow and so is his national notoriety. He was also one of three players named to the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll for the third consecutive week.
Two weeks ago, he became a late addition to the Hornung Award Watch List, presented at the end of the season to the most versatile player in major college football. Archer, a 5-foot-8, 175-pound dynamo, has moved up to second place in fan votes, which count towards a portion of the overall vote.
As KSU (5-1, 3-0 MAC) prepares to play Western Michigan (3-4, 1-2) Saturday for its 3:30 p.m. Homecoming game at Dix Stadium, Archer has no doubt caught the attention of Broncos coaches.
Archer has handled the ball 86 times and has 22 plays of 20 or more yards and 37 plays of 10 yards or more. He’s averaging 10.8 yards per carry (58 attempts) and ranks 27th in the nation with an average 104.2 rushing yards.
Archer also leads the nation in all-purpose yards (229.17 yards per game) and his efforts have KSU ranked second in the nation in team kick-return average (37.2).
Despite scoring at least once in all six games, Archer isn’t the only KSU player continuing to improve.
“I thought that might have been the best win in the two years since we’ve been here,” Hazell said. “The defense did an unbelievable job of slowing down and stopping Army’s triple-option, which is always a formidable task.
“The offense did a nice job of executing, putting points on the board and putting pressure on their team offensively. And we continue to get better on special teams. We had some great punts and great punt coverage and we had a big return from Eric Adeyemi when they kicked it away from Dri.”
As well as things have gone so far this season for the Flashes, the one thing Hazell doesn’t want is his players getting big heads, even though they are just one win away from becoming bowl eligible.
“It’s definitely been nice, but we know that being 5-1 can turn into 5-7 easily,” junior center Phil Huff said. “So we just have to keep working and keep building it up to get 13-1.”
Career day for Batton
Senior linebacker Luke Batton had a career-high 16 tackles at Army, contributing to the Black Knights going just 1-for-9 on third downs.
“It seemed like every time I turned around, Luke was making a tackle,” senior nose tackle Dana Brown Jr. said. “He’s the leader of our defense, the backbone of our unit.”
Sophomore Tiggle out
The Flashes might have lost sophomore safety Calvin Tiggle for the remainder of the season with a knee injury suffered at Army.
“It wasn’t on a cut block, he was trying to soften on a block and got it caught running off to the sideline,” Hazell said. “He was engaged and ended up twisting his knee pretty good. We’ll find out in the next 24 to 48 hours exactly what it is, but it’s a pretty severe knee injury.”