Dustin Crum passed for 289 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 147 yards and the clinching score in Frisco, Texas, to help Kent State beat Utah State 51-41 on Friday night in the Frisco Bowl for the Golden Flashes’ first bowl victory.
Kent State (7-6) closed with four straight wins to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2012.
“I’m just so happy for the university,” said Crum, who also was the Golden Flashes’ leading rusher during the season. “We weren’t supposed to be here, but here we are.”
Matthew Trickett kicked five field goals to set a Kent State game record.
“I love these boys,” said second-year coach Sean Lewis, whose first Golden Flashes team finished 2-10. “Just tremendous resolve by them. It was a testament to their character.”
Crum threw a 78-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKoy down the right sideline on Kent State’s third play from scrimmage. Crum flipped a one-yard scoring pass to Antwan Dixon with 9:36 to play to put the Golden Flashes ahead for good, then scored with 1:56 left on a fourth-and-one run from the four-yard line.
Jordan Love passed for 308 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Siaosi Mariner, in his final game for Utah State (7-6). The junior announced last week that he will bypass his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
Deven Thompkins scored on a 57-yard run and a 17-yard reception for the Aggies.
Jaret Patterson ran for 173 yards and two touchdowns, Kyle Vantrease passed for a touchdown and ran for another, and Buffalo got the first bowl win in school history, beating Charlotte 31-9 in Nassau, Bahamas.
Patterson had 32 carries for the Bulls (8-5), who were winless in three previous bowl appearances. He finished the year with a slew of school single-season records, including 330 carries, 1,799 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns.
Antonio Nunn caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Vantrease on the first Buffalo drive to open the scoring, and Vantrease capped a marathon 15-play, 74-yard, 8½-minute drive by plunging in from the one with 3:33 left in the half to push the Bulls’ lead to 14-0.
Patterson scored on a six-yard run midway through the third quarter to make it 24-0, then sealed the win with a 10-yard touchdown rush late to cap a 16-play scoring drive.
Victor Tucker caught a 51-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass from Chris Reynolds late in the third quarter for Charlotte (7-6), which saw its five-game winning streak end. Charlotte was in a bowl game for the first time.
Reynolds completed 15 of 24 passes for 203 yards.
The bowl game was the first of 40 to be played this season.