If the Miami game dredged up memories of being wet and very cold, then the Kent game dredges us memories of watching us get our ass kicked. Last year's Kent game was the worst lost we ever had at the Doyt, and remains a black mark on our football history. It was simply awful.
So, this year, we were hoping to see some improvement. After last Saturday, we are no longer so sure. Let's look at the Kent State Golden Flashes, beginning with a season review.
Kent is 3-4, sure. But, they have losses to two Top 10 teams (Kentucky and Ohio State), so you gotta discount those. Let's look at each game....
@Iowa State 23 - 14 (W)
Iowa State is a bad team that lost to Toledo. Still, winning on the road in a Big XII Stadium is always something for a MAC team.
@Kentucky 20 - 56 (L)
Didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but Kentucky is in the Top 10 today.
Delaware State 38 - 7 (W)
This is a game they should have won easily and did.
@Akron * 20 - 27 (L)
Tough loss to an arch-rival. It was on the road, but gave them that first MAC East loss that puts you way behind the 8 ball.
@Ohio * 33 - 25 (W)
Nice road win against an OU team that has struggled this yea.r
Miami 20 - 13 (L)
Tough loss at home. Second loss in East virtually ends any hope of winning the East.
@Ohio State 3 - 48 (L)Ohio State is #1. For now.
When Kent has the Ball....
I'm afraid we don't match up very well with Kent, but maybe I'm wrong.
In fact, Kent seems to play a lot like we did last year. Running QB, strong TB, and a heavily weighted run/pass mix.
Kent is led by Eugene Jarvis, the top running back in the MAC, who nearly has 1,000 yards seven games into the regular season. We have typically struggled with strong backs, and he'll get his yards Saturday. He went 18-70 last year. He is also Kent's leading receiver.
Kent's QB is the player Brandon says he really fears--Julian Edelman. Edelman is an Anthony Turner runspead QB who is averaging about 50 yards per game. Typically, we have had real trouble with QBs who run like that.
In fact, Kent is the leading rushing team in the MAC, but are last in pass efficiency. They run about 67% of the time. But, if our players don't stay in their lanes, these two guys will light us up Saturday.
They don't protect well--only one team in the MAC has given up more sacks. Perhaps worst of all, their turnover ratio is -9....a ratio that has more to do with their MAC losses than anything. Finally, they are second to last in the redzone.
When BG has the ball...
Kent's D appears to be pretty good, and they've played some tough competition. They are allowing only 5.4 per play which is pretty good, and its only 3.7 per rush, which is even better.
In fact, they're 1st in the MAC in run defense, which means we may not gain a yard rushing all day, given our success.
Against the pass its a little more deceiving....Kent is second in the MAC in Pass D, but that's based on yards. In fact, they they are in bottom half on pass D efficiency, which takes completion %, ints and TDs into effect. Opponents are completing 60% of their passes against Kent. So, if we can't run, this might be a game where we can pass, and we are going to need to if we are going to win. They do get good pressure....they are third in the MAC in sacks.
Quick hit on special teams. They have really good KO returns, a good kicker, a lousy punter and average punt coverage. Don't count on special teams costing them the game.
We don't match up well here, I am afraid. I don't make predictions. If we are going to win we are going to have to over-achieve on Run D and then figure out how to get our passing game going, and then hopefully open up some running lanes. Also, take care of the football and force some turnovers.
After a big loss, nothing ever looks good. Another loss, and we're off the island, so I hope we can rally the troops Saturday.