Ryan Aplin threw for 213 yards and a touchdown, J.D. McKissic caught 11 passes for 113 yards and Arkansas State edged No. 25 Kent State 17-13 to win the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Sunday night.
Arkansas State’s usually prolific offense struggled against Kent State, whose defensive coordinator, Jon Heacock, served as Youngstown State’s head coach from 2001-09.
But the consistent Aplin-to-McKissic connection and a stingy defense was enough to help the Red Wolves to their first bowl win since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1992.
Kent State was driving late in the game when quarterback Spencer Keith tried to scramble on fourth down and was stopped a few yards short of the marker with 52 seconds left. Neither team scored a touchdown in the second half.
The Golden Flashes (11-3) were playing in their first bowl game since 1972.
Poland High graduate Luke Wollet, a starting safety for the Golden Flashes, was the team’s co-leader in tackles with 11, including six solos. Canfield’s Jordan Italiano, a backup safety, added one tackle.
Heacock will likely now head to Purdue to serve as an assistant coach under Darrell Hazell, who is leaving Kent after two seasons.