By Allen Moff | Staff Writer
Sophomore running back Julian Durden has been reinstated to the Kent State football team, and will be in uniform when the Flashes visit Western Michigan on Saturday.
Durden (McKees Rock, Pa.) rushed 27 times for 131 yards last season, including a career-long 32-yard run in the Flashes' GoDaddy.com Bowl loss to Arkansas State. However, he was suspended from the team after being charged with receiving stolen property and marijuana possession after an incident that occurred in a dorm on Feb. 9.
Durden eventually pleaded guilty to the marijuana possession charge.
Durden has been practicing with the team throughout the season, but has not played -- reportedly due to an academic issue. Kent State head coach Paul Haynes allowed Durden to officially rejoin the team on Monday.
NIX NEVER QUITS
After Penn State scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to go up 31-0 last Saturday, Kent State defensive lineman Roosevelt Nix got into a brief skirmish after blasting a Nittany Lions lineman while trying to block the point-after try.
"That's just the way he is," said Haynes. "You can tell what a team is really about when (the opponent) is kicking an extra point and half the (defense) is walking off the field. It's a point that we made to our players."
"If you play football the way you're supposed to play football, what does the score matter? A call is a call, go execute it," Haynes said.
Nix was his typically disruptive self at Penn State, finishing with five tackles and two tackles for a loss. His play certainly impressed PSU head coach Bill O'Brien.
"Coach O'Brien made a point before the game to tell me how good he thought Rosie Nix was," said Haynes. "He's the only guy he talked about. He said that No. 5 is a special player, which I thought was special from an opposition coach to tell you about a defensive lineman that's an impact player. And he made it a point to find (Nix) and tell him after the game."
FORMER RIDER WRIGHT SEES ACTION
Former Kent Roosevelt High School star Marcus Wright saw his first action at nose guard after Chris Fairchild was injured at Penn State and "held up pretty well," according to Haynes.
With Wright, a 6-foot-4, 258-pound junior, in the lineup, the Flashes had no one over 270 pounds on the defensive line.
"When you're playing against some powerful guys, you see a little bit of the weakness and where we have to get better in the weight room and things like that," said Haynes. "But for the most part, those guys did a pretty good job."
The Flashes' secondary, led by senior cornerback Darius Polk and junior corner Dylan Farrington, held reigning Big Ten Receiver of the Year Allen Robinson to just three catches for 43 yards. Farrington also snared Kent State's first defensive turnover since last year's MAC Championship Game, when he picked off a pass in the third quarter.
The Flashes gave up yards in bunches through the air against BG and LSU, but limited Penn State to 13-of-36 passing for 176 yards, with a long catch of 29 yards.
"As a whole secondary, seeing how we played the last couple games, it was all about communication and just coming together as a secondary and taking pride in playing the game of football," said Farrington. "We came together on Saturday and got it done."
Backup quarterback David Fisher entered the game in the third quarter for a series, with the Flashes trailing 14-0.
"That was predetermined," said Haynes. "We thought is was important to get David in there in the normal course of the game instead of just at the end to give him reps to get him prepared for the future. You just never know when (the backup) has to be your guy. And he's earned a chance to get out there and play."
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