Spencer Keith rushed for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, as 25th-ranked Kent State escaped with a 31-24 victory over Bowling Green on Saturday at Doyt L. Perry Field.
Keith threw for 91 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 9-of-17 passing while Dri Archer had a huge day on the ground for the Golden Flashes, running for 241 yards and two scores on 17 carries.
Eric Adeyemi caught a touchdown pass in the triumph for Kent State (10-1, 7-0 MAC), which has won nine straight since a loss to Kentucky in September.
Kent State will play Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game on Nov. 30.
Matt Schilz threw for 355 yards and three scores on 22-of-44 passing but was picked off three times for the Falcons (7-4, 5-2). Chris Gallon caught 10 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns, while Shaun Joplin caught five balls for 74 yards and a touchdown in the setback.
"It was a disappointing loss," Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson said. "It's obviously not the result we want, but in terms of the effort, I couldn't be more proud of our football team."
Kent State began its decisive possession on the Bowling Green 20 following an interception of Schilz by Richard Gray.
The Golden Flashes needed just four plays before Keith finished the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run, making it 31-24 with 8:14 on the clock.
Bowling Green began its final drive at the 25-yard line with 2:33 to go. Facing 3rd-and-10, Schilz hit Joplin for 11 yards to keep the drive alive as the Falcons reached the Kent State 17 where they faced 4th-and-13.
On that play, Schilz dropped back to pass and was picked off by Luke Wollet, sealing the win for Kent State.
After a scoreless first 15 minutes, Kent State opened the scoring early in the second quarter. Facing a 3rd-and-12 at the 10, Schilz was picked off by Norman Wolfe, giving Kent State the ball at the Falcons' 23.
Kent State moved the ball to the 15 and Freddy Cortez hit a 32-yard field goal, giving his team a 3-0 advantage.
The Golden Flashes needed just two plays on their next drive to extend the lead to 10-0 as Archer broke through the line for a 79-yard sprint to the end zone on 2nd-and-6.
On the first play of the ensuing Bowling Green drive, Schilz connected with Gallon for a 72-yard touchdown strike, cutting the deficit to 10-7 with just over eight minutes left in the half.
Bowling Green quickly regained possession, as Matthew Hurdle caught a 4-yard pass but fumbled the ball, which was picked up by Josh Pettus at the Kent State 41.
From there, Bowling Green used eight plays to move to the Golden Flashes' 12 before Tyler Tate made a 30-yard field goal, tying the game at 10 late in the second quarter.
Bowling Green began its first possession of the third quarter at the Kent State 40 following a fumble recovery. Schilz connected with Joplin on a 27- yard TD pass, capping a 7-play drive to give the Falcons a 17-10 lead.
Kent State answered back on its ensuing drive with a 6-play, 76-yard march, capped by a 32-yard TD pass to Adeyemi, tying things at 17-all.
Kent State grabbed a 24-17 lead early in the fourth after Archer ripped off a 74-yard touchdown run, but the Falcons answered right back when Schilz hit Gallon on an 81-yard throw and catch for the touchdown, making it 24-24 less than a minute into the final quarter.
Bowling Green outgained Kent State, 438-425 ... Kent State converted just 3- of-13 third down chances, while the Falcons went 6-of-17 on third down ... The Golden Flashes conclude their regular season at home against Ohio next week, while Bowling Green will close its season with a home game against Buffalo.