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Mobile, Ala. • 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 in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Sunday night.
Arkansas State's usually prolific offense struggled against Kent State, 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.
Darrell Hazell roamed the Kent State sideline one more time in the Golden Flashes' first bowl game since 1972. He is leaving the program to take over at Purdue.
Veteran defensive coordinator John Thompson coached the Red Wolves after Gus Malzahn left to take the Auburn job last month. It was the second straight season Arkansas State had to play its bowl game without the coach who led it to a Sun Belt championship Hugh Freeze left for Mississippi in 2011 before last year's GoDaddy.com Bowl, which the Red Wolves lost 38-20 to Northern Illinois.