Nick Holley exposes the Bison defense en route to Golden Flashes win
September 9th, 2017 the Kent State Golden Flashes hosted the Howard Bison in their home opener and didn’t disappoint the KSU faithful. The Golden Flashes won 38-31 due to the big plays by fifth-year senior quarterback Nick Holley. Holley scored on the first play from scrimmage with a 38-yard scamper and he wasn’t finished there. Holley added two more touchdowns through the air while running for a total of 119 yards and throwing for 105. His ability to run the option like KSU likes to0 made him that much more of a threat.
Justin Rankin the lead tailback for the Golden Flashes had just that, flashes of excellence throughout the game. He may have only had 33 yards on eight carries but added 47 yards on four catches and a touchdown. There were a couple of throws towards Rankin that I believe could have been huge gains if he hadn’t dropped them.
The goal line formation proved to be the knife in the heart for the Howard Bison who had trouble keeping freshman Kesean Gamble out of the endzone. Gamble had two touchdowns but other than that his stats weren’t eye popping. He ran the ball six times for 10 yards, not much to write home about. However, the Kent State coaches used the freshman’s size to their advantage down near the endzone.
However, Kent State wasn’t the only one to have some highlight plays. Howard quarterback Caylin Newton (Cam’s younger brother) hooked up with halfback Jequez Ezzard late in the first quarter, on a 75-yard pass to get the Bison to the KSU two yard line. The drive was later capped off with a pass from Newton to Kyle Anthony to bring Howard within a touchdown at the time.
Late in the second the MEAC preseason offensive player of the year running back Anthony Philyaw had a 75 yard run for a touchdown, one of the few big gains Philyaw had due to an abundance of holding penalties on Howard. Philyaw ended the game with 20 carries for 173 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Golden Flashes looked brilliant by making Howard punt a total of six times throughout the game. The defense added an interception by junior cornerback Demetrius Monday, and two sacks. At times the defense looked better than the offense, however, Howard still outgained KSU overall.
Next week Kent State travels to West Virginia to take on Marshall while Howard heads to Richmond to take on the Spiders.