MOBILE, Alabama: Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin threw for 213 yards and a touchdown as the Red Wolves beat Kent State 17-13 in college football’s GoDaddy.com Bowl on Sunday.
J.D. McKissic caught 11 passes for 113 yards, and his connection with Aplin made up for an otherwise lackluster offensive performance by Arkansas State, which relied more on a stingy defense.
Kent State was driving late in the game when quarterback Spencer Keith tried to scramble on fourth down and was stopped a few yards short of the marker with 52 seconds left. Neither team scored a touchdown in the second half.
Kent State took a 7-0 lead on Dri Archer’s 16-yard touchdown run and the margin could have been worse, but Arkansas State linebacker Nathan Herrold picked off a tipped pass in the end zone to end a promising drive for the Golden Flashes.
David Oku rushed for a tying 10-yard touchdown with 5:40 remaining in the second quarter, and then Aplin hit McKissic for a 31-yard touchdown minutes later to push the Red Wolves ahead 14-7.
Kent State responded with a 42-yard field goal by Freddy Cortez just before halftime. The teams traded field goals in the third quarter, but neither team could score in the fourth.
The Golden Flashes put together one last drive in the final minutes, with Keith completing a clutch 15-yard pass over the middle on fourth down with less than two minutes remaining. He was headed for another fourth-down conversion just four plays later, but was tripped on a scramble deep in Arkansas State territory and the Red Wolves began to celebrate on their sideline.