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Arkansas State holds off Kent State in bowl

Published On: Jan 07 2013 12:09:44 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 06 2013 11:55:10 PM CST
Football Generic

MOBILE, Ala. -

J.D. McKissic set the Arkansas State single-season record for receptions, and made the go-ahead touchdown catch as the Red Wolves won the Bowl.

McKissic had 113 yards receiving on 11 catches - nine of which came in the first half - and finished with 101 receptions this season. Ryan Aplin, the most prolific passer in Sun Belt Conference history, completed 21 of 30 passes for 213 yards in his final game with the Red Wolves (11-3).

Dri Archer, Kent State's versatile All-American, generated 117 all-purpose yards but suffered a knee injury that sidelined him during crunch time. It was the final game for Golden Flashes coach Darrell Hazell, who's been hired by Purdue. Arkansas State's coach, Guz Malzahn, already left for Auburn. Defensive coordinator John Thompson served as interim coach before Bryan Harsin takes over next season.

Archer accounted for Kent State's only touchdown - a 16-yard run in the first quarter. The Golden Flashes maintained that 7-0 lead until Aplin got hot late in the first half, completing 10 consecutive passes on two touchdown drives. Arkansas State's David Oku capped the first with a 10-yard touchdown, and a 31-yard scoring strike from Aplin to McKissic finished the other.

Arkansas State's defense, which led the Sun Belt in points allowed as the Red Wolves repeated as conference champs, held Kent State scoreless for the final 16:44 to wrap up the win.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Arkansas State lost last year's Bowl to Northern Illinois, a team that beat Kent State in the MAC championship this season and earned a BCS bowl bid as a result of that victory. ... Kent State came into this game with 38 takeaways, but didn't force a single turnover. ... The MAC had won the previous three Bowls, and this marked the first-ever win in that game for a Sun Belt team.

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