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November 19, 2012

Honors aplenty for Kent State

Follow KentStateReport.com on Twitter | Givler | Birmingham

Kent State's Darrell Hazell has his Golden Flashes football team with ten wins - already a school best - and their first ever spot in the MAC championship game in Detroit, and today he was named as one of the sixteen finalists for the Maxwell Football Club Collegiate Coach of the Year Award.

Hazell, in his second year at the helm for the Golden Flashes, has quickly turned around Kent State from MAC afterthought to frontrunner, and he's done with a group of players that were holdovers from the previous staff. The signs of a potential turnaround were there throughout the 2011 season, and especially as it came to an end. While they endured two three game losing streaks last year, Hazell's bunch found a way to right the ship, and finished the 2011 winning five of their last six games, including wins against rivals Akron and Bowling Green.

This year, the Golden Flashes have taken the next step forward and have done so with a grind-it-out offensive approach and a ball-hawking, turnover-causing defense. After suffering their first - and only - loss against SEC foe Kentucky in the week's second season, Hazell's team has won nine straight games and finds itself ranked 23rd in the BCS rankings and similarly positioned in the Associated Press poll. Hazell's squad is on track for the school's first bowl appearance since 1972, when the "James Gang" - the team led by players such as Jack Lambert, Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel and legendary head coach Don James - appeared in, and won, the now defunct Tangerine Bowl.

Kent State is one of only six FBS teams to have won as many as 14 of their last 16 games, and that run is one of the reasons Hazell joins these coaches on the list of finalists for this Coach of the Year award.

Dave Doeren - Northern Illinois
Sonny Dykes - Louisiana Tech
Brian Kelly - Notre Dame
Chip Kelly - Oregon
Mike MacIntyre - San Jose State
Urban Meyer - Ohio State
Jim Mora - UCLA
Will Muschamp - Florida
Bill O'Brien - Penn State
Mark Richt - Georgia
Mike Riley - Oregon State
David Shaw - Stanford
Bill Snyder - Kansas State
Kevin Sumlin - Texas A&M
Dabo Swinney - Clemson

Archer, Melchiori earn honors

Freshman kicker Anthony Melchiori and junior speedster Dri Archer each picked up Conference Player of the Week honors for their efforts against Bowling Green this past Saturday afternoon.

Archer, who ran for a career-best 241 yards against the Falcons on only 17 carries, scored twice - each of them from more than 70 yards - on his way to his fourth different Player of the Week award this season. He has previously been honored as Special Teams Player of the Week twice, and had earned the Offensive Player of the Week once earlier this season. On the season, Archer is averaging a whopping 10.3 yards per carry, which is the best in the nation

Melchiori, from Aurora (Oh.) had his best week as a collegian, putting three of his six punts inside the Bowling Green 20 yard line. Kent State is 6th nationally in net punting, and for the 8th time this year, the Falcons were unable to finish the game with positive punt return yards. This was Melchiori's first conference player of the year award.

The Golden Flashes will look to extend their school best winning streak to ten straight games this Friday when they host the Ohio Bobcats at 11am from Dix Stadium.

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