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In the tune up game before the National Championship there is still one game to be played, the GoDaddy.com Bowl. This year it is more than just Danica Patrick and great commercials...although those will be fun to watch too.
ABOUT KENT STATE (11-2, 8-1 MAC): The Golden Flashes won the East Division title in the MAC and is making their first bowl appearance since December 1972. Archer logged a 38.2-yard average on kickoff returns with three returns for touchdowns. Archer, who's scored 22 total touchdowns in 13 games, is the only player in the country with more than 1,300 yards rushing and 500 receiving. He also threw a 24-yard touchdown pass this season. Linebacker Luke Batton is the Golden Flashes' top defensive player. He has 132 total tackles and ranks as one of the top 20 most prolific defenders in the country. Kent State ranks second in Division I in turnover margin and - with 38 takeaways - is tied with Oregon for the nation's lead. The Golden Flashes have solid special teams. In addition to Archer's exploits as a returner, Kent State led the MAC in net punting and kicker Freddy Cortez closed the season with six straight made field goals.
ABOUT ARKANSAS STATE (9-3, 7-1 Sun Belt): The Red Wolves finished the regular season strong, scoring 131 total points in their final three games and topping 500 yards of offense in each of those contests. Arkansas State can break the school record for points in a season by scoring 20, a safe bet considering the Red Wolves topped 30 points in 11 of 13 games. Freshman wide receiver J.D. McKissic is Aplin's top target and - with 92 catches - needs three more to break the single-season reception record. Thompson, who in his first season as defensive coordinator, helped Arkansas State lead the Sun Belt in scoring defense for the second straight year. Linebacker Nathan Herrold has 109 tackles, the first Arkansas State defender to reach triple digits since 2007. Placekicker Brian Davis is a reliable weapon, with 40 made field goals for his career and a school-record 100 points this season.
Reason to watch: Kent State dynamo Dri Archer should be reason enough, but given that Arkansas State also ranks 22nd nationally in scoring offense, a shootout could be in store. Both an elusive running back and receiver, Archer will look to add to the 2,460 all-purpose yards and 23 total touchdowns he accounted for this season. But the Golden Flashes are no one-man team; sophomore running back Trayion Durham also ran for 1,248 yards in 2012. Meanwhile, Arkansas State has a star of its own. Quarterback Ryan Aplin, who threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener against Oregon, hasn't slowed down since. He completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,129 yards, threw just four interceptions and was sacked only 13 times. And if none of that makes you want to turn on your TV, think of it this way: The GoDaddy.com Bowl is the second-to-last college football game until August.
Kent State wants to finish a breakout season in style. It's the first time the Golden Flashes have been to a bowl game in 40 years and they've already set a school record for wins in a season. Arkansas State - which has won back-to-back Sun Belt championships - gets a second chance in the GoDaddy.com Bowl after losing last season to Northern Illinois.
* Red Wolves are 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Golden Flashes are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five vs. a team with a winning record.
* Over is 6-1 in Golden Flashes’ last seven vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 14-4-1 in Red Wolves’ last 19 non-conference games.
Arkansas State QB Ryan Aplin against the Kent State defense: Aplin owns nearly every passing record in Arkansas State history after throwing for 10,545 yards and 66 touchdowns in his four seasons. His final game will be against a Kent State defense that has forced 38 turnovers this season, which is the most in the Football Bowl Subdivision. They're also first in the country with a plus-21 turnover margin.
Did you know: The GoDaddy.com bowl is the only current bowl game to be sponsored by a website. Other previous sponsorships -- the MicronPC.com Bowl, the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl, the PapaJohns.com.bowl, etc. -- no longer exist.
Arkansas State and Kent State are victims of their own success, with both coaches taking jobs at other schools since the regular season concluded. Kent State's Darrell Hazell, the new coach at Purdue, is sticking around for the bowl game. Meanwhile, an interim coach leads Arkansas State into the Godaddy.com Bowl for the second consecutive season. Defensive coordinator John Thompson will lead the Red Wolves after Gus Malzahn left to take over at Auburn.
OUTLOOK: Kent State would have been in the Orange Bowl with a victory in the MAC title game. Still, the Golden Flashes are in the postseason for the first time in 40 years, and Coach Darrell Hazell will coach the team before leaving for Purdue. Arkansas State won’t have Gus Malzahn, who has left for Auburn, but the Red Wolves have quarterback Ryan Aplin, the Sun Belt player of the year who has thrown for 23 touchdowns and four interceptions.