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Archer carries, passes Kent State over Army 31-17

Associated Press Modified: October 13, 2012 at 4:34 pm •  Published: October 13, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — Dri Archer is versatile. Rusher, receiver, kick returner — he compiles all-purpose yards all over the field.

But passer?

Go ahead and add that to the list.

Archer rushed for 222 yards — including an explosive 87-yard touchdown late — and completed a trick 24-yard touchdown pass as Kent State got off to its best start in four decades with a 31-17 win over Army on Saturday.

Spencer Keith threw for 60 yards and a touchdown and caught Archer's halfback option throw to give Kent State an early lead it never relinquished.

"That was a play we put in this week. We knew it was going to work," Archer said. "I was telling Coach (Darrell Hazell) about it since the beginning of the season. I always wanted to throw a touchdown pass."

Trayion Durham added 65 rushing yards and a score for the Golden Flashes (5-1), who won their first nonconference road game in five years and spoiled Army's homecoming.

Under Hazell, a former Army assistant, Kent State beat Army for the first time in three meetings to cement its best start since 1973. The Golden Flashes are 5-1 for only the third time since 1940.

"We came up with some big plays that we needed to have," Hazell said. "That was a good win for us. Big win. Huge. Number five."

Trent Steelman rushed for 66 yards and passed for another 66 to lead the Black Knights (1-5), who lost to a Mid-American Conference opponent for the sixth straight time. Malcolm Brown rushed for 92 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run that briefly brought Army within two touchdowns in the fourth.

Army, which stunned Boston College a week ago, hasn't won back-to-back games since 2010, a streak of nine losses following a victory.

The Black Knights, whose 397 rushing yards per game was leading the nation, had 325 against the Golden Flashes, but converted only 5 of 17 third downs.

Luke Batton led Kent State with 16 tackles.

The Golden Flashes, who haven't let an opponent score in the first quarter this year, kept that streak alive on Army's second series, when Daniel Grochowski missed badly on a 47-yard field goal attempt.

A week after converting three fourth-down tries, Kent State kept that streak going as well early in the second when Durham rushed for 5 yards on fourth-and-2.

That was nothing compared to what came next.

On first down from the Army 24, Hazell, perhaps taking some inspiration from the West Coast offense, called for a halfback option, and Archer's arm was up to the task.

He took a pitch right from Keith, then stopped on a dime and lobbed the ball downfield, connecting with Keith — taking everyone by surprise as he raced down the left sideline — for the 24-yard touchdown strike.

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