YPSILANTI, Mich.: Dri Archer’s three touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving and one on a kickoff return — helped Kent State spoil Eastern Michigan’s homecoming with a 41-14 victory Saturday afternoon.
Archer scored on a 5-yard pass from Spencer Keith early in the second quarter, then ran the second-half kickoff back 98 yards to put the Golden Flashes (4-1, 3-0 Mid-American) ahead 24-7. Later in the third quarter, his 64-yard run made it 38-7.
Archer finished with 222 combined yards on 13 touches. He has three return touchdowns and three three-touchdown games this season. His average return of 47.8 yards leads the nation.
“Absolutely I was surprised,” KSU coach Darrell Hazell said about teams kicking to Archer. “I would never kick to the guy. That’s just me, because he has a chance to take it 99, 100, it doesn’t matter.”
Even the defensive players leaving the field have an appreciation for what Archer can do with the ball in his hands.
“We are just spectators like everyone else,” defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix said. “We want to see something crazy happen, too. Dri is just such a fast dude. I don’t see why anyone would kick to him.”
Trayion Durham added 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns and Kent State totaled 321 yards on the ground. Freddy Cortez kicked two field goals to bookend the scoring.
Bronson Hill ran 68 yards for a touchdown for the Eagles (0-5, 0-2), and Tyler Benz hit Demarius Reed for a 25-yard touchdown but completed just eight other passes, with two interceptions. Other than the two scoring plays, Eastern Michigan managed just 107 yards of total offense. At the half, The Eagles only had one first down.
“We weren’t impressed with ourselves last week,” Nix said. “We wanted to prove to ourselves more than anything that [last week] wasn’t the defense we were going to be.”
Kent State hasn’t been 4-1 to start a season since 1977, when Hazell was in seventh grade. Several members of his coaching staff, however, hadn’t yet been born.