Kent State ends 40-year bowl drought with game against Arkansas State in the Bowl

No. 25 Kent State will meet Arkansas State in the Bowl in the first bowl appearance in 40 years for the Golden Flashes.

The game is played on Jan. 6, the eve of the BCS national championship game.

It's the second straight appearance in Mobile for Arkansas State, which lost 38-20 to Northern Illinois last season.

Kent State has won a program-record 11 games. The Golden Flashes are 0-2 all time in bowl games, including trips to the Refrigerator Bowl in 1954 and the Tangerine Bowl in 1972.

"With it being 40 years since our last bowl experience, it's going to be a wonderful trip for our student-athletes who are very deserving after the year they've had," Kent State athletic director Joel Nielsen said. "Our coaching staff, our support staff and especially our fans are excited to come to Mobile. It's also the climate that would attract northeast Ohioans in early January."

The Golden Flashes lost to Orange Bowl-bound Northern Illinois 44-37 in double-overtime in the Mid-American Conference championship game.

Their last bowl team featured a defense that included eventual Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert and No. 2 Alabama coach Nick Saban.

Kent State coach Darrell Hazell commented in a statement issued before the destination was announced.

"Our guys will be extremely excited to be traveling to a bowl," said Hazell, the MAC coach of the year. "They will continue to work extremely hard to be ready to go, wherever we kick off."

The Red Wolves won the Sun Belt Conference title for the second straight year and are 9-3 under first-year head coach Gus Malzahn, a former Auburn offensive coordinator.

They beat Middle Tennessee 45-0 on Saturday.

Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir said the game presents "a fantastic opportunity to play a quality opponent ranked in the top 25 and to potentially end the season as a top-25 team for the first time as an FBS member."

Kent State is led by running backs Dri Archer (104 yards per game) and Trayion Durham (96 ypg).

Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin leads the nation's 17th-rated offense, ranking 32nd in passing yards.