FRISCO, Texas — Thirty-six days before his Kent State Golden Flashes football team recorded its first bowl victory in school history, second-year head coach Sean Lewis was on the verge of yanking his first-string defense in the game that would have officially extinguished the team’s bowl eligibility in 2019.
Comeback stories barely get any more remarkable than Kent State’s this season, as a 3-6 start to the season was capped off by three consecutive wins and, on Friday night, a 51-41 victory over Utah State in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl just outside of Dallas. Quarterback Dustin Crum was named the game’s offensive MVP after amassing 436 total yards — 147 on the ground – and three touchdowns.
Kent State ends the season with seven wins for the first time since 2012 and picks up its first bowl win in four attempts.
Not bad for a team that was a failed onside kick away in their comeback victory over Buffalo on Nov. 14 from conceding the game and clinching a losing season in the process.
“That’s a tremendous job by these young men and they did it in a first-class bowl,” said Lewis, the youngest head coach in the FBS at 33 years old. “The resiliency of these guys and this team is a testament to the hard work they’ve put in.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 30 pictures in total.