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By Allen Moff | Staff writer
Flashes gold outnumbered Huskies red Friday at Ford Field.
Nearly 4,000 fans made their Detroit travel plans known to KSU officials beforehand, and hundreds of others made the trip on their own before Friday night's kickoff. A total of 11 buses brought backers from Kent to Detroit.
Among those in attendance were former All-American golfer and British Open champion Ben Curtis, who took in the game from Kent State's sideline, and former Flashes star quarterback Jose Davis.
Josh Cribbs sponsored a bus trip to Detroit, just like he did last spring when Kent State's baseball team advanced to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Cribbs would have likely made the trip himself, but he was in California on Friday preparing for the Cleveland Browns' game at Oakland on Sunday.
The Mid-American Conference announced on Friday that it has reached an agreement to send a team to the Military Bowl, based in Washington, D.C.
The Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman will be played at RFK Stadium on Thursday, Dec. 27, at 3 p.m., and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
The MAC has had two programs participate in the bowl game in the last three years. Last year, Toledo defeated Air Force 42-41, and in 2009, then-member Temple lost to UCLA 30-21 in the EagleBank Bowl.
The MAC now has tie-ins to four bowls this season: The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Dec. 26 in Detroit), the GoDaddy.com Bowl (Jan. 6 in Mobile, Ala.), the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Dec. 15 in Boise, Idaho) and the Military Bowl.
Representatives from the Orange Bowl, clad in their orange suit jackets, were on the field before kickoff on Friday posing for pictures.
While most of the 2012 All-MAC team selections made sense, one notable exception was the snubbing of Kent State freshman punter Anthony Melchiori.
Despite leading the league in net punting, the former Aurora star did not even garner a Third-Team selection. The First Team All-MAC punter is Jay Karutz of Eastern Michigan, who ranks second in the league in punting (42.7 ypp) and third in net punting.
On the Second Team is Brian Schmiedebusch of Bowling Green, who is fourth in average (41.8) and seventh in net punting; and the Third-Teamer is Colter Johnson of UMass, who leads the league in average (43.6) but is eighth in net punting.
The All-MAC selections are voted on by league coaches, who may have overlooked Melchiori because he is a freshman, while the three All-Conference choices are all upperclassmen. But anyone who watched Melchiori punt on a weekly basis would have made him an All-MAC selection, no matter his class.
Melchiori's first two punts on Friday night sailed 55 and 54 yards, and the second boomer led to Kent State's first touchdown when Darius Polk stripped A.J. Sebastiano and recovered the fumble at the NIU 22.
Melchiori later hit a 51-yarder that was lower than usual, and Sebastiano returned it 30 yards into KSU territory, setting up an NIU touchdown that tied the game 10-10. Before that return, Melchiori's punts had been returned for only 29 total yards this season.