CLEVELAND -- Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell was named 2012 Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year and junior Dri Archer was named MAC Special Teams Player of the Year on Wednesday, as voted upon by conference coaches. Archer was also one of nine Golden Flashes to earn All-MAC honors and was joined by senior Brian Winters (Hudson) and junior Roosevelt Nix on the First Team.
In his second year at Kent State, Hazell orchestrated a dramatic turnaround by claiming the program’s first-ever MAC East Division title with a perfect 8-0 record and an 11-1 overall mark. Kent State is ranked No. 17 in the BCS standings, No. 18 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 19 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Kent State’s 10- game winning streak is the longest in program history and the 11 wins are also the most in school history. Under Hazell’s leadership, the Golden Flashes have won 15 of their last 17 games, only one of five FBS teams to accomplish that feat.
Archer earned two spots on the All-MAC First Team as both a running back and a kick return specialist. He returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in his first five games and leads the nation with a 38.2 average on 15 returns. Out of the backfield, Archer is averaging 9.7 yards per carry with 1,337 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. His 21 total touchdowns has broken Kent State’s previous single-season record of 18.
Winters and Nix are each making their third straight appearance on the All-Conference team. Nix becomes Kent State’s first three-time First Team member since Astron Whatley in 1997. The defensive tackle has 5.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles this season.
Winters, a left tackle, anchors an offensive line that has only allowed three sacks in the last eight games, while clearing paths for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Archer and sophomore Trayion Durham.
Next to Winters at left guard is senior Josh Kline, who earned All-MAC Second-Team honors. Kent State’s offensive line ranks 11th in the nation in rushing offense.
Joining Kline on the Second Team is senior middle linebacker Luke Batton and junior safety Luke Wollet. Earning All-Conference honors for the second straight year, Batton’s 119 tackles rank fifth in the MAC. He’s recorded two interceptions, 3.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries.
Like Batton, Wollet is a two-two All-MAC honoree and has returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Wollet leads the Flashes with four interceptions and has made 99 tackles.
Also on the defensive side, seniors C.J. Malauulu and Jake Dooley each earned Third-Team honors. A repeat selection at linebacker, Malauulu has 66 tackles, a pair of forced fumbles, an interception and a touchdown.
Dooley has a team-high 6.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and 38 tackles.
Sophomore tailback Trayion Durham also claimed a spot on the Third Team. Durham has rushed for 1,176 yards and 14 touchdowns, tying for the second-most rushing touchdowns in a season at Kent State. He’s been especially effective in the fourth quarter, averaging 6.7 yards per carry.
The Flashes' nine All-MAC selections are the most since 1987.
Kent State plays in the Marathon MAC Championship Game on Friday at Ford Field in Detroit. Kickoff against Northern Illinois on ESPN2 is slated for 7 p.m.