The teams began the second half tied 24-24 when the Bobcats (3-4, 2-1) ate up 7:05 of the third quarter with a 13-play, 75-yard drive capped by Tuggle's plunge over right tackle from the 1.
The fourth quarter was frenzied as each team scored twice, Ohio taking the lead for keeps when Nathan Rourke scored from the 7-yard line for a 38-31 lead.
On the next possession, Ohio's defense held the Golden Flashes to a 3-and-out in 49 seconds, setting up Tuggle's back-breaker when he charged through a huge hole in the center of the line and reached the end zone untouched.
Raymond James had lifted Kent State (3-4, 2-1) into a 31-31 tie with his first career TD, a 27-yard pass play from Dustin Crum. Crum, who passed for 262 yards and four TDs, closed the game with an 8-yard pass to Mike Carrigan with 31 seconds left.
The first half ended with a bizarre play when Michael Farkas' line-drive kickoff whanged off the helmet of Kent State's Isaac Vance 15 yards downfield, caromed toward the sideline and into the arms of Ohio's Camyrn Snow.
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