QB Dustin Crum straw that stirs Kent State’s drink
LARAMIE -- Rocky Lombardi, Drew Plitt, Jake Haener and Logan Bonner had some of their worst statistical performances of the season against Wyoming's secondary.
Northern Illinois' quarterback tossed three picks. The signal callers from Ball State and Fresno State failed to eclipse the 100-yard mark in the passing category. The junior under center in Logan, Utah completed just 19-of-40 throws in a 44-17 loss to the Cowboys.
It should come as no surprise that UW features the seventh-best pass defense in the nation, allowing just 177.5 yards per game.
Those four guys above mostly make their living as drop-back passers.
Dustin Crum doesn't.
Oh, Kent State's QB can toss the ball around the yard. He's completing better than 64% of his passes. The 6-foot-3, 207-pound senior has amassed 2,922 yards through the air this season to go along with 16 touchdowns. Crum threw for more than 300 yards in a game four times.
The aspect of Crum's game that has Craig Bohl concerned is when he can do with his legs.
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As solid as the backend of the Cowboys defense has been this fall, facing dual-threat quarterbacks hasn't exactly been its strong suit.
San Jose State quarterback Nick Nash gashed the Pokes for 111 rushing yards on just 11 carries. Hawaii's Chevan Cordeiro ran wild in the regular-season finale, finishing with 86 yards on 14 attempts. He also found the end zone in a lopsided 38-14 victory in Laramie.
Crum may not have the elusiveness of Nash or the sneakiness of Cordeiro, but he has racked up 633 yards on the ground on 147 carries. Most impressive, he's scored 11 rushing touchdowns for the Golden Flashes, including one jaunt that went for 62 yards in a road win at Akron.
Wyoming's eighth-year head coach knows Crum and the Kent State offense operates at break-neck speed. The weapons on that side of the ball are dangerous and plentiful. Running back Marquez Cooper reached the 1,000 yard mark. So has wide receiver Dante Cephas. The Flashes have three pass catchers with more than 500 yards on their 2021 resume.
Still, Crum is the engine that makes the whole thing operate.
"He's a gutsy player," Bohl said. "... He's got good feet and he runs well. He's a tough runner with vision. You know, he's not going to fake slide and he's not going to run out of bounds. He's a competitive quarterback."
This week, Crum accepted an invite to participate in the East-West Shrine game. He was also named the MAC Player of the Year after leading Kent State to a 7-6 record and a berth in the conference title game.
The last time this team played in the postseason, Crum was named the MVP of the 2019 Frisco Bowl. That was a no brainer after he carved up Utah State to the tune of 289 yards on 21-of-26 passing. He also added a pair of touchdown strikes.
That's not all.
Crum carried the ball 23 times for 147 yards and a score in the 51-41 win over the Jordan Love led Aggies to help claim the program's first ever bowl victory.
"We're going to need to have an answer for him," Bohl said of Tuesday's Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise. "You know, he's just kind of the straw that stirs their drink. He makes a lot of plays for them."
Kickoff inside Albertsons Stadium is slated for 1:30 p.m.
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