AKRON, OH -- Kent State's ground game churned out 410 yards and the Flashes defense pitched a shutout as the Flashes blanked rival Akron 38-0 Saturday at Infocision Stadium.
With the win, KSU (6-5, 5-2 MAC) is bowl eligible and also set up next week's showdown against Miami for the Mid-American Conference East title and a ticket to the conference championship tilt one week later. Akron, meanwhile, fell to its fifth straight loss. It was the second setback under interim Head Coach Oscar Rodriguez, who took over after the recent dismissal of Tom Arth. The Zips are now 2-9 heading into next week's finale at Toledo.
Kent State, which retained possession of the Wagon Wheel trophy with Saturday's win, passed the ball just 15 times against UA. Senior quarterback Dustin Crum completed 8 of 13 for 74 yards and the team passing total was 85 yards.
Both were less than Crum's running total of nine carries for 114 yards with two touchdowns. Marquez Cooper, meanwhile, was the workhorse, carrying 25 times for 135 yards with a score. Bryan Bradford and Xavier Williams combined for 15 trips, 124 yards and a TD.
Kent State took an early 7-0 lead on a 1-yard Cooper run for the first quarter's only score. However, the Flashes later exploded for four touchdowns before intermission. Three were by Crum on runs of 1, 10 and 10. Bradford added a 10-yard score of his own and the visitors led 25-0 at halftime.
Neither team scored a touchdown over the final two stanzas, but KSU kicker Andrew Glass connected on field goals from 10, 31 and 43 yards.
Akron, which commited the game's only two turnovers, picked up just 11 first downs on the day. It totaled 188 yards, with 11 coming through the air. Zach Gibson completed 14 of 21 passes. The running game, meanwhile, totaled 77 yards while averaging just 2.3 yards per carry on 24 trips. Jonzell Norrils provided 50 yards on 16 carries.
Andrew Behm (11 tackles) and Ronald Jackson (9 tackles) led UA's defense. The Kent State defense was paced by Dean Clark (9 tackles) and A.J. Musolino (8 tackles). CJ West had a pair of sacks among KSU's six on the day.