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MAC FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Kent State's Archer makes big return

Kent State running back Dri Archer crosses the goal line to score against Arkansas State in the second quarter Jan. 6 of the Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
Kent State running back Dri Archer crosses the goal line to score against Arkansas State in the second quarter Jan. 6 of the Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

Kent State will have its biggest weapon back for Saturday’s game against Northern Illinois.

It’s not just any player, as senior Dri Archer is one of the biggest offensive threats in the entire Mid-American Conference.

After suffering an ankle injury in the Golden Flashes’ season-opening win over Liberty, Archer returned last week in Kent’s 32-14 win over Western Michigan on Saturday, and certainly made a difference.

He ran the ball six times for 73 yards (12.2 yards a carry), and caught four passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.

“I think he gives us that definite speed on the offensive side of the ball,” Kent State coach Paul Haynes said Monday morning on the Mid-American Conference coaches teleconference. “Everyone knows he has the chance to go the distance every time he touches it.”

Haynes didn’t say if Archer would be more involved in the offense this week. In his absence, the Flashes’ other backs have been good as well.

Trayion Durham has ran for 344 yards (4.0 yards a carry), and junior Anthony Meray has 102 yards with a 4.1 average.

“I think the one good thing that we’ve established in these last three weeks is depth, with [Archer] not being out there,” Haynes said. “And to see some other things that we can do well and some other guys make plays.”

Carey mum about ranking: NIU coach Rod Carey has never been someone to talk about national rankings.

After NIU’s 55-24 win at Purdue Saturday, the Huskies earned the No. 23 spot in the USA Today Coaches Poll (where Carey has a vote), and came in just outside the Associated Press Top 25, finishing 26th with 104 votes.

However, Carey isn’t going to worry about this stuff now.

“[Rankings] don’t mean a whole lot, really until the end of the year,” he said. “It must mean people respect us, and that’s great. Really happy with that.”

BSU gets leg up in West Division: Saturday’s matchup between Toledo and Ball State in Muncie, Ind., was a huge game in the MAC West, which looks like it will be a three-team race with the Cardinals, Rockets and NIU.

Ball State is now 2-0 in MAC play after the 31-24 win over Toledo, while the Rockets fall to 1-1, but still aren’t out of the division race.

“I thought it was a really hard-fought football game,” Toledo coach Matt Campbell said. “Their kids made a few more plays to win the game.”

After throwing for 335 yards on Saturday, Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning is one of two quarterbacks in FBS (the other being Oregon State’s Sean Mannion) to throw for 300 or more yards in every game.

With running back Jahwan Edwards running for a 2-yard touchdown on the Cardinals’ opening drive, Ball State has now scored on its first drive in every game of the season.

“It’s been a trend,” Ball State coach Pete Lembo said. “It’ll be hard to continue, but it’s been a trend for us early in the season.”

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