Why did the Northern Illinois coach kickoff to Archer? It was probably a mistake, because it didn't happen again.
The Husky defense watched Archer like a hawk, double covering him at all times. Archer carried the Flashes by keeping the game close in the first half, down only 21-17.
In the third period, Kent State scored first on a Tyshon Goode 28-yard reception from sophomore quarterback Colin Reardon for a 24-21 lead. But the Huskies recovered quickly, adding a TD for a 28-24 lead, then piled on 10 more points in the last period to salt the game away.
Now here is the vinegar in the wounds. Northern Illinois ran more plays (98-61), gained more yards (698-392) and had more first downs (36-15). The possession time was 35:58 to 24:02 in favor of the Huskies. Cameron Stingily, the 244-pound tailback for the Huskies, gained 266 yards in 37 carries for a 7.2 average. Stingily ran over the defense, dragging tacklers for extra yards. The Huskies ran at will, amassing 470 yards on the ground. Jordan Lynch, the Northern Illinois quarterback, completed 21 passes for 244 yards and added 94 yards rushing.
A quick look at the size of the Huskies speaks volumes.
The NIU offensive line had a 250-pound tight end and got bigger across the rest of the line with weights of 282, 287, 286, 315 and 283 for a total of 1,703 pounds. Facing them on defense for Kent State were six players who weighed in at 1,478 pounds -- a 225 pound difference. As the game wore on, the pounding became more apparent. Last year when Kent State won 11 games, it had a couple of huge linemen who are playing pro ball this season.
On offense, Kent State had trouble opening holes, as the team's top back, Trayion Durham, gained 76 yards in 14 carries for 5.1 yard average. Reardon completed less than 50 percent of his passes. While he wasn't sacked, Reardon sure was hurried.
When Reardon scrambles, the Kent State receivers trap themselves against the sideline, effectively narrowing the field. Good teams have their receivers keep moving, creating openings.
You can use the excuse that it is a young team but it is the sixth game, not the second. Kent Stater is good enough to win more than half of its remaining games. It might not be enough for first-year coach Paul Haynes, but Kent State faced a tough schedule early in the season.
The coaches know they have to recruit bigger and faster players. Only then can we look forward to 10-win seasons.