Gamble lifted the Golden Flashes into the lead for good with a 1-yard plunge with 12:35 on the clock, then added some security on a 4-yard run to the end zone with 5:56 remaining. After pulling back to within seven points on a short touchdown run by Caylin Newton, Howard's desperate bid to continue its Cinderella start to the season ended in an interception by KSU's Demetrius Monday with no time remaining on the clock.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Newton, the brother of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, put the Bison ahead 24-23 with 2:09 on the third-quarter clock.
The Flashes held the lead for all but the 4:34 that separated Newton's late third-quarter score and the first of Gamble's touchdowns. Kent State started fast, reaching the end zone on the offense's first play from scrimmage - a 38-yard run by Holley that gave KSU a 7-0 lead just 2:26 after the opening kickoff.
Kent State's players and coaches credited the fast start to a visit from Haynes. The Flashes' head coach is in the second week of a medical leave.
Holley, who rushed for 119 yards on 21 carries and threw for another 105, added a 25-yard touchdown pass to Justin Rankin midway through the first quarter and a 25-yard scoring throw to Raekwon James early in the second as the Flashes took a 21-14 lead into the half.
The KSU defense also played a big part in the victory. A third-down sack by junior linebacker Jim Jones at the Bison three led to a third-quarter safety when a snapped punt sailed through the end zone. Sophomore defensive end Nick Faulkner set the stage for Gamble's final touchdown when he forced a Newton fumble that teammate Theo Eboigbe fell on at the Howard 30.