Reardon passes for 3 TDs as Kent State earns first win, keeps Army winless on road, 39-17

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KENT, Ohio — Army coach Jeff Monken minced no words during a 35-minute postgame address to his team.

The Black Knights were beaten by previously winless Kent State 39-17 on Saturday, marking the low point of their difficult season.

"Every loss is tough, do you want me to rank them?" Monken said. "It doesn't matter if it's Army or Kent State or any of the other 126 teams playing major college football. When you can't convert plays to keep drives going and you don't tackle, it's hard to win. We've got to be better than this."

Sophomore Colin Reardon set career highs with 360 passing yards and four touchdowns, helping the Golden Flashes (1-6) snap a six-game losing streak and earn their first victory since last Nov. 19 at Ohio.

Kent State amassed a season-high 467 yards and scored on all eight of its trips into the red zone, delighting the 18,114 fans at its homecoming game.

"Army, it's an honor to play them and I give them the utmost respect," Flashes coach Paul Haynes said. "I'm so proud of our team to stick with it and get the win."

The Black Knights (2-5) have not won a game at an opponent's stadium since 2010, when they defeated Southern Methodist in the Armed Forces Bowl. Their last regular season road win occurred against the Flashes four years ago.

Army gained 295 yards on the ground, but senior Angel Santiago only completed 3 of 10 passes for 17 yards and an interception on the rainy, 46-degree afternoon. Junior A.J. Schurr was 2 of 3 for 18 yards in a mop-up role.

Senior running back Tony Giovannelli paced the Black Knights with 90 rushing yards, while Santiago had 77 and fullback Larry Dixon had 71. Giovannelli and running back Raymond Maples each ran for a touchdown.

"West Point does a good job preparing us for weather like this, so it wasn't a problem," Giovannelli said. "So does Coach Monken. He had us well prepared for every possibility. We just weren't able to execute to the best of our abilities."

Army fell to 2-1 against Mid-American Conference foes, previously beating Buffalo and Ball State. It wore full camouflage uniforms, but lost for the fourth time in its last five games.

Giovannelli sliced Kent State's lead to 20-17 six minutes into the third quarter with an 8-yard TD run. The 6-foot-1, 201-pounder set up the score by gaining 37 yards on a pitch from Santiago, taking the ball down to the Flashes 29.

"I saw a lot of open field once I got the ball on that long run," Giovannelli said. "It was well blocked by the line, and (running back) Terry Baggett and (wide receiver) Xavier Moss made nice blocks down the field to help me."

The Black Knights failed on all four of their fourth-down conversions, scoring just once in their final eight drives after a strong start.

Sophomore cornerback Josh Jenkins intercepted Reardon on the opening play of the game, leading to a 32-yard field goal by Daniel Grochowski just 3:27 in. Jenkins made a team-high 13 tackles.

Maples found the end zone midway through the second on a 2-yard run, giving Army a 10-6 lead. Reardon answered with a 10-yard TD to Casey Pierce just before halftime to put Kent State ahead for good at 13-10.

"I thought the guys played hard, they didn't quit," Monken said. "We just couldn't put anything together and score in the second half. You've got to be able to run the ball and block people. We had too many negative plays when we couldn't afford them today."

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