KENT, Ohio – Colin Reardon threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Chris Humphrey late in the fourth quarter as Kent State avoided a season-opening upset with a 17-10 win over Liberty on Thursday night.
The Golden Flashes, coming off the best season in school history, were without running back Dri Archer, being touted by the school as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate who suffered a leg injury early in the game. He had 10 yards on three carries.
Reardon, replacing a four-year starter who led Kent State to its first bowl appearance in 40 years, led a game-winning 88-yard drive. He hit Humphrey for his second touchdown pass with 4:28 to play.
The Flashes’ defense stopped the Flames on downs at the Kent State 40 with just more than a minute to go.
Kent State had to overcome nine penalties in coach Paul Haynes’ debut to run its regular-season winning streak to 11.
UCF 38, AKRON 7: In Orlando, Fla., Blake Bortles had three touchdown passes and threw for a career-high 314 yards as the Knights blew past the Zips.
Storm Johnson added 99 yards rushing and two scores as the Knights won their eighth consecutive season opener and second straight over the Zips.
It was the first 300-yard passing game of Bortles’ career and the first by a Knights quarterback since 2009.
Akron dropped its 10th straight game, dating back to last season.
The game between North Carolina and No. 6 South Carolina was suspended because of lightning near Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks led 27-10 with 8:20 left in the fourth quarter.