KENT: The visiting team had won the past five meetings between Kent State and Buffalo heading into the teams’ Mid-American Conference opener Saturday at Dix Stadium.

The Bulls continued that streak by taking down the Golden Flashes 27-13.

“Disappointing loss,” Kent State coach Paul Haynes said. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot.”

Buffalo (3-2, 1-0) controlled the game from the start, totaling 119 yards in the first quarter while holding Kent State (1-4, 0-1) to just 21 yards. The Bulls also got a blocked punt by redshirt sophomore Jerin Scroggins that put them in the red zone and led to a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

“Anytime you get a blocked kick, it’s hard to win a football game,” Haynes said. “Statistics show that unless you double up on turnover margin, it’s hard to come back from a blocked kick. That’s why we sit there and say it’s the most important play in football.”

The Flashes had plenty of chances to put points on the board but twice were unable to convert in the red zone, including on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line on the first possession of the third quarter.

“Personally, I thought I was in,” redshirt junior quarterback George Bollas said. “I thought I crossed the plane, but I think they blew the whistle dead.”

Buffalo took advantage of the turnover on downs and turned it into a 99-yard touchdown drive. It seemed the Flashes had held the Bulls to a field goal, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Bulls a fresh new set of downs and they were able to reach the end zone.

Freshman quarterback Dustin Crum, who earned his first career start, provided a positive performance in the second quarter. He connected with sophomore wide receiver Kavious Price from 75 yards out for his first passing touchdown with 12:52 to play in the second quarter. It was Kent State’s longest play of the season.

The Flashes also got 33- and 20-yard field goals from Shane Hynes late in the second quarter and trailed 20-13 at halftime.

Bollas put together a decent performance after replacing Crum in the second half. Bollas played all of the snaps in the second half as the Flashes threw the ball a season-high 30 times, completing 19. He finished with 242 passing yards and another 26 on the ground.

“Whoever starts the game, we always go with the next guy during that third or fourth series,” Haynes said regarding the quarterback situation. “After that, we just go with whoever’s playing the best.”

Sophomore running back Emmanuel Reed led the Bulls with 144 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries. Junior quarterback Drew Anderson added 142 yards and a passing touchdown to go with 76 yards on the ground.