College football: Archer carries, passes Kent State over Army 31-17
Dri Archer rushed for 222 yards — including an explosive 87-yard touchdown late in the game — and completed a trick 24-yard touchdown pass as Kent State defeated Army 31-17 Saturday.
Spencer Keith threw for 60 yards and a touchdown and caught Archer's lob on a halfback option to give Kent State an early lead it never relinquished.
Trayion Durham added 65 rushing yards and a score for the Golden Flashes, who under former Army assistant Darrell Hazell won their first nonconference road game in five years, are 5-1 for the first time since 1973.
Trent Steelman had 66 rushing yards and another 66 passing to lead the Black Knights (1-5), who fell to a Mid-American Conference opponent for the sixth straight time. Malcolm Brown added 92 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run.
Army, which stunned Boston College a week ago, hasn't won back-to-back games since 2010, a streak of nine losses following a victory.
The Black Knights, whose 397 rushing yards per game was leading the nation, had 325 against the Golden Flashes, but converted only 5 of 17 third downs.
Luke Batton led Kent State with 16 tackles.
The Golden Flashes, who haven't let an opponent score in the first quarter this year, kept that streak alive on Army's second series, when Daniel Grochowski missed badly on a 47-yard field goal attempt.
A week after converting three fourth-down tries, Kent State kept that streak going as well early in the second when Durham rushed for 5 yards on fourth-and-2.
That was nothing compared to what came next.
On first down from the Army 24, Hazell called for a halfback option, and Archer's arm was up to the task.
He took a pitch right from Keith, then stopped on a dime and lobbed the ball downfield, connecting with Keith — taking everyone by surprise as he raced down the left sideline — for the 24-yard touchdown strike.
It was a bad omen for Army, which is 3-14 under Rich Ellerson when an opponent scores first.
The Golden Flashes scored through the air again with 6:44 left in the half when Keith, now back under center, connected with a diving Eric Adeyemi in the right side of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown.
Army faced a crucial fourth-and-inches in the third, when Steelman fell forward on the keeper but was stopped by Roosevelt Nix. The turnover on downs put Kent State on the Army 38.
Archer scurried for 20 yards on second down, and the Golden Flashes soon went up 17-0 on Freddy Cortez's 28-yard field goal from the right hash.
Army didn't score until Grochowski's 37-yard field goal cut it to 17-3 with 3:12 left in the third.
Kent State answered right back. First, Archer slipped through the line, broke two tackles and got loose in the open field for a 48-yard rush, setting up first-and-goal.
Then, the Golden Flashes converted their only third-down play in nine tries on the day — this one worth six points as Durham pushed through three tacklers and fell across the goal line. The touchdown call was upheld by replay, and Kent State led 24-3 in the last minute of the third.
Army scored its first touchdown on Brown's 5-yard rush with 12:02 left in the game, capping an 81-yard drive.
Down 24-10 after the extra point, Army had one last chance on fourth-and-2 from the Kent State 11, but Raymond Maples fumbled short of the marker.
The game was already effectively over when the versatile Archer, who leads the nation in all-purpose yards per game, showed his considerable speed on an 87-yard touchdown run with 6:22 left to make it 31-10.
Army got a 6-yard touchdown pass from A.J. Schurr to Patrick Laird in the final minutes to make it 31-17.