KENT — A pilot and Mother Nature teamed up to make the Kent State football team's trip to Ole Miss last weekend one members of the travel party will not soon forget.

The adventure started innocently enough early Friday afternoon when the Golden Flashes' plane at Akron-Canton Airport became stuck in the grass while headed toward the runway. Original reports indicated that some sort of mechanical issue caused the plane to go off the paved area, but that was not the case, according to first-year Kent State coach Sean Lewis.

“Our pilot cut the corner a little bit too tight, and the right rear wheel ended up in the grass,” Lewis explained during his weekly news conference on Monday. “I was asleep. I get on a plane and I fall asleep. That's what I do. I got nudged by Adam Young, our director of football operations. He told me we had run off the runway. At no point in time was anyone in any danger whatsoever.”

While officials considered whether to try to pull the plane out of the mud or send for a new plane, passengers sat idly on the grounded plane for about two hours. Eventually they de-planed, and a new plane was ordered — which wound up taking nearly four hours to arrive.

While waiting patiently for their new plane, the Flashes passed time in some memorable ways, Lewis said.

“Having a film session in a hangar in between two Learjets is a memory that those kids will never forget,” Lewis said. “We enjoyed some pizza, we had a film session, we relaxed. We played some road travel games ... little things where you grow together and come together as a family. When you're sitting six hours in a hangar together, you're going to learn some things about one another.”

Lewis also found out more about his team on the field during a long Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Miss.

Kent State outgained the Southeastern Conference's Rebels 239-186 in total yards in the first half, and were tied 7-7 at halftime when the first of two lengthy lightning delays struck.

The Flashes (1-3) were still within 21-17 late in the third quarter, but the Rebels pushed the lead to 14 before lightning early in the fourth quarter produced a delay of nearly two hours.

A touchdown shortly after the restart put the game away for Ole Miss (3-1), which wound up winning 38-17. Still, Lewis said he was pleased with his team's overall showing against a loaded Rebels squad.

“The numbers say one thing, but when you turn on the tape and you grade our kids, our guys played well,” said Lewis. “[Junior safety] Jamal Parker was all over the place. He got one pick, had his hands on another, and he led our team in tackles [12] so he's showing up in the run fit as well.

"There are no moral victories, but it gives us confidence going into next week knowing that we can line up and go toe-to-toe with anyone.”