- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Arkansas State won the GoDaddy.com Bowl with a 17-13 win over Kent State on Sunday night in Mobile, Ala. The Red Wolves finished with a 10-3 record after winning the surprisingly low-scoring affair. Here’s how Arkansas State earned the 10th bowl victory in program history:
How the game was won: Physical defense from Arkansas State. The Red Wolves were able to corral Kent State’s dynamic duo of Dri Archer and Trayion Durham, who each rushed for at least 1,200 yards this season. Archer was hampered by a knee injury for much of the game, losing his explosiveness after scoring an early touchdown and Durham was generally bottled up by the Arkansas State defense.
It was over when: Kent State quarterback Spencer Keith was stopped short on a fourth-down run as he tried to lead the Golden Flashes to a game-winning touchdown. It was yet another example of the strong defensive effort from Arkansas State on Sunday night.
Stat of the game: 3.4. That’s the yards-per-carry average for Durham, who entered the game averaging 4.9 yards per carry and 96 rushing yards per game. He finished the GoDaddy.com Bowl with 20 carries for 68 yards.
Game ball goes to: Qushaun Lee. The Arkansas State linebacker was all over the field, finishing with 13 tackles including the final fourth down stop on Keith. He was a key playmaker as the Red Wolves slowed a Kent State offense that entered the game averaging 34.6 points per game.
Unsung hero of the game: J.D. McKissic. Playing in his first bowl game, the redshirt freshman receiver was outstanding with 11 receptions for 113 yards and one touchdown for Arkansas State. He provided a dynamic target for senior quarterback Ryan Aplin throughout the night.
What it means: Arkansas State will enter the Bryan Harsin era with momentum. The former Texas offensive coordinator takes over as head coach after Gus Malzahn left for Auburn. The Wolves lose Aplin but running back David Oku, their leading rusher with more than 1,000 yards and McKissic, their leading receiver, return to form a solid foundation for 2013.