"It's good to get into the win column and it felt good to be in that locker room singing the fight song," said Kent State head coach Paul Haynes, whose Golden Flashes improved to 1-2. "I'm proud of our guys for . . .
For the second week in a row, the Flashes' defense pitched a shutout heading into halftime. The two Mitchell-to-Holley scores helped KSU build on the the 13-0 advantage after the break.
"I think (Mitchell) did some good things," said Haynes. "Every rep he takes, he will continue to get better. The more we can be 50/50 throwing and running…the more we will help him make plays.
Mitchell finished with 106 yards on an interception-free 14-for-18 passing performance.
The two scores for Holley continued a restorative comeback after he missed the bulk of last season to injury.
"I tell people that football is my therapy," said Holley, who finished with seven catches for a team-best 65 yards. "It's nice to be out there getting therapy again. The touchdowns are just extra."
Shane Hynes kicked field goals of 22 and 38 yards in the first and second quarters, providing bookends to Washington's first career touchdown – a 7-yard run through a brief downpour of rain, and capped by a lunge for the goal line with 10:56 on the second-quarter clock.
Monmouth's lone score arrived with 5:53 remaining on a two-yard Zach Welch touchdown run. Kent State's defense dominated the rest of the day.
"We are a hungry (defense)," said Refuge, whose fourth-quarter interception continued a turnover streak that included fumble recoveries in each of the season's first two weeks.
"We feed off of each other's plays. Any time we are on the football field, there are plays to be made. I look forward to creating energy with those plays. We made some mistakes here and there and we'll have to go to the drawing board on a couple of things, but overall we played pretty decent."
Kent State's stingy run defense played a big role in the Flashes dominating the rushing battle. KSU out-gained Monmouth on the ground 235-to-67 as Mitchell led the way with 77 yards on 14 carries while fellow freshman Justin Rankin added 59 yards on 12 runs.
Next up for Kent State is a trip to visit Alabama – the No. 1 team in the nation coming into week three of the college football season.
"We are just going to work on our execution," said Haynes. "We've been to places like Ohio State and LSU, so we'll be alright."
● Kent State's 235 yards rushing were the most in their last 11 games. Monmouth's 67 yards rushing were lowest by an opponent in the Flashes' last 13 games.
● After two sacks and 4.0 tackles for loss, senior Terence Waugh has 14.0 sacks and 20.0 tackles for loss in his last 13 games played.
● Redshirt freshman quarterback Mylik Mitchell has thrown five touchdown passes in his last two games. His 77 yards rushing was a career-high.
● Senior linebacker Elcee Refuge intercepted a pass, giving him a hand in a turnover in three straight games.
● Senior safety Nate Holley led both sides with 17 tackles. Holley has made 15 or more tackles in five of his last six games.
● Kent State held an opponent under 10 points for the first time since 2013.
● Sophomore kicker Shane Hynes improved to 7-for-7 on field goal attempts inside 50 yards until a third quarter attempt was blocked.
(Courtesy of KSU Athletics)