Junior quarterback Dustin Crum threw a pass up for grabs with multiple Ball State defenders closing in on him on 3rd-and-11 from the Kent State 27-yard line in a tied game with about three minutes left.
Senior receiver Mike Carrigan, who already had seven catches for 140 yards, tracked the ball down the left sideline.
“I saw the defender was pressing me so I knew I was going to take him no matter what,” Carrigan said. “Then I saw the ball in the air, and it was short so I came back to it.”
He made the catch, and seven plays later, sophomore kicker Matthew Trickett made the 22-yard field goal to give Kent State a 41-38 win. The Flashes improve to 5-6, 4-3 Mid-American Conference. It was the second week in a row that Trickett made the game-winning field goal.
Carrigan’s catch kept the drive alive in a game where Ball State’s offense dominated. The Cardinals finished with 538 yards on 84 plays. They also ran the ball 59 times for 330 yards.
“Obviously, it wasn’t pretty in all facets, but at the end of the day we found a way to win,” coach Sean Lewis said. “When we needed stops we got stops. Again, we talked about this when we found a way to win against Kennesaw State, that’s what good teams do even when they don’t play their best ball. They find a way to win.”
In his return from a two-game suspension, sophomore receiver Isaiah McKoy had a career-high 159 yards and three touchdowns on six catches. He became the first receiver with three touchdowns in a game since Eugene Baker in 1997.
“The way he can run and create seperation (is special),” Crum said. “I can think of very few times when I’ve overthrown (McKoy). With him you just really have to put it out there and let him run under it. The longer the pass the more he’s going to separate from the cornerback.”
McKoy and Carrigan both dropped would-be touchdowns in Kent State’s three straight one possession losses to Ohio, Miami and Toledo. They each finished with a career-high in receiving yards.
“My receiver coach he also says, ‘If you drop a ball just hit the reset button,’” Carrigan said. “So every time I drop a ball I hit the reset button. Knowing the ball is coming back to me again (I know) I just have to make a play.”
Crum finished the day with a career-high 369 yards and four total touchdowns. He ran for a career-high 101 yards on 15 carries, including two runs of at least 30 yards. He also threw for his 10th touchdown pass of 20 yards or more this season.
Sophomore running back Xavier Williams scored a touchdown and ran for a career-high 84 yards on 14 carries. Senior running back Will Matthews added 88 yards on 14 carries.
Two weeks ago, Kent State’s record was 3-6, 2-3 MAC, and they needed to win out to have a chance at a bowl game. They are one win away from potentially securing the fourth bowl appearance in program history.
“As good as today is, and as good as last week was, all that doesn’t matter unless we go handle business next week,” Lewis said. “We have to go get one more against a really, really good Eastern Michigan team that’s been resting since Tuesday. No one cares about (their rest). So what? Now what? Let’s go find a win.”
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