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Nate Warnock, Golden flash # 54, faces off against Kennesaw State Defensive Line During The KSU v.s. Kennesaw State game held at Dix Stadium, Sep. 7, 2019.

For most of Saturday’s game, the Kennesaw State triple-option gauged Kent State’s defense for big plays, eventually forcing overtime.

That changed on a fumbled pitch to running back Shaquil Terry which was recovered by senior linebacker Matt Bahr. The recovery flipped the momentum as Kent State only needed to score once to win the game.

“They were running the fake-pass speed-option play for most of the half,” Bahr said. “I was on back side pursuit. My job is to get there as fast as I could. The ball ended up on the ground, and I was just opportunistic.”

The Flashes went on to beat Kennesaw State, 26-23 in overtime.

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Graduate linebacker Matt Bahr tackles a Kennesaw State University player in Kent State's first home game on Saturday, September 7, 2019. The Flashes beat Kennesaw State 26-23 in overtime.

Bahr’s recovery came only a few minutes after a horse-collar tackle penalty put Kennesaw State on the Kent State 24-yard line with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Owls scored a few plays later on a four yard run by quarterback Daniel David.

Kennesaw State led, 23-20, with 1:47 left.

Enter junior quarterback Dustin Crum, who was named the starting quarterback at kickoff today.

Crum started a week after coach Sean Lewis called last season’s starting quarterback junior Woody Barrett “our guy” in a press conference after a 30-7 loss at Arizona State. Barrett finished 9-for-16 for 83 yards, and he was benched for the entirety of the second quarter. 

Lewis walked back his statements Monday, stating, “Even though there’s a depth chart in place and we release, they know each and every single week that there’s competition to earn the right to start. That’s across the board at every position.”

Barrett played just one snap and rushed for no gain.

Crum now had the ball in his hands down three with under two minutes to play with the ball on his own 30-yard line. He completed three passes of over 10 yards, including a 4th-and-6 conversion near midfield. 

“Crum was 100 percent this training camp in all of the situations we created,” Lewis said. “We tell the guys all the time: practice repetition is game reality, and there’s not a kid in our program that really embodies the daily improvement we’re looking for more.”

The drive set up a 38-yard game-tying field goal from sophomore kicker Matthew Trickett. 

Following Bahr’s fumble recovery in overtime and a drive that net -1 yards, Trickett made a game winning 43-yard field goal to give Kent State the 26-23 win.

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Senior cornerback Jamal Parker tackles running back TJ Reed during Kent State's first home game against Kennesaw State University on Saturday, September 7, 2019. The Flashes beat Kennesaw State 26-23 in overtime.

“We’ve been practicing those all summer, just me, Derek (Adams) and Joey (Palumbo) out there on the turf,” Trickett said. “Really, we have the easy jobs. We’re not the ones getting hit. We just have to kick a ball.”

Crum tied his longest career completion on a 75-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Isaiah McKoy midway through the third quarter. Crum finished 17-for-23 for 192 passing yards and a passing and rushing touchdown. 

Lewis refuses to name a starting quarterback publicly. 

“Woody’s going to be the next man up,” Lewis said. “He’s going to have an opportunity to play each and every single week. There’s no competitive advantage to give anything more than that.”

The Flashes next game is Sept. 14 at Auburn. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Ian Kreider is a sports reporter. Contact him at ikreider@kent.edu.

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