Kent State University
sports fans have been waiting 40 years for this moment.
There will be plenty of Blue and Gold pride when the Golden Flashes kick off against the Arkansas State Red Wolves tonight in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Not only will the game climax an incredible season for Kent State, it also will mark the first time since the Golden Flashes competed in the Tangerine Bowl 40 years ago, that Kent will be playing in a bowl game.
It's a moment that fans of the Flashes have been waiting to witness for two generations, a moment that many wondered if they ever would see.
The team molded by Darrell Hazell changed all of that. The dynamic coach inspired his team to play with their hearts and play to win, instilling in them a sense of pride and a belief in their abilities that brought a sense of excitement to Kent State football weekend after weekend. The Flashes turned out to be a winning team in every sense of the term, and the season proved to be nothing short of incredible.
Tonight's game will be a bittersweet one because it will mark Coach Hazell's last appearance at the helm of the Golden Flashes. Now head coach at Purdue University, he will be coaching his team for the last time -- which would make a victory all the more sweet. If Kent defeats Arkansas State tonight, the Flashes will be among only eight college teams, including Ohio State, that have finished the season with a dozen or more wins. Making the score an even dozen would be the icing on the cake for a season to remember.
While the GoDaddy.com Bowl isn't as widely known or as prestigious as other bowl games, such as the Rose Bowl, for example, winning a spot in any bowl game is a rare honor for a college football team. In Kent's case, coming 40 years -- two full generations -- after the Flashes' last bowl appearance, it's even more noteworthy.
We'll be following the Flashes tonight as they write another chapter of Kent State history. Let's hope they win.