Friday, October 09, 2009

25 Centennial Cup Questions

Bowling Green and Kent will play as part of the newly minted Centennial Cup, shown here (The contest actually covers all sports). This is in reference to Bowling Green and Kent being founded in the same has been an OK rivalry, but candidly, from a fan's perspective, it is somewhere behind UT and Miami and probably OU on the overall list.

Anyway, we are traveling to Dix Stadium Saturday for what is amounting to a must-win game if this season is to be anything but preparing for the future. With four losses, even our ability to match last year's record is severely compromised if the Falcons lose Saturday.

What is their body of work?

Much like every other team in the world, we really don't know what we have here. Kent is 2-3, and their wins over Coastal Carolina and Miami (at Dix) really don't prove anything. Their losses are Iowa State, @Boston College and @Baylor, and while none of those are Top 25 programs, they are all BCS programs. Each of them won by more than two touchdowns.

What is their best result?

Beating Miami.

What is their worst result?

I'm going to say losing to Iowa State at home, a team they beat in Ames last year.

What was the turnover margin?

They are dead even. They have gained 13 and lost 13. Gaining 13 is the second best in the MAC.


How is their QB play?

Giorgio Martin had played briefly and with promise a couple years ago and was red-shirted last year to replace Edelman. That didn't work out so well (passer rater of 79) so Kent went to Spencer Keith down in Waco, and he took most but not all of the snaps. Against Miami, Kent tried only 11 passes, but they threw a lot more against Baylor. (Kent has actually used 3 QBs so far this season).

For that amount of time, Keith was an improvement. He is a true freshman and a highly productive high school player in Arkansas. He's pre-med, too. He is completing 60% of his passes for a nice average (6.7 yards per catch) and has 4 TDs and 3 INTS in 88 passing attempts.

He has not shown himself to be a dual threat QB, but we seem to have the ability to make every QB a dual threat QB the last couple of years. Let's hope we don't have the spectacle of watching another Kent QB evade our lineman for three hours as we have with Edelman and Cribbs.

What was their yard per play?

Yards per play is 4.6, which is pretty meager, which is about what Ohio's was coming in to our game with them, if you get my drift. And only a little bit behind ours. Kent is 12th in the MAC in scoring and 8th in yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

This is pretty interesting. Their stud RB Eugene Jarvis was lost for the season and I think a lot of people wrote Kent off. They tried a couple guys against Iowa State, to no avail, and then they moved Jacquise Terry from WR to RB, and he has had some two 100 yard games and 7.9 yards per carry. Not only is he obviously a capable runner, but I think it is clear that Kent's system is set up to run the ball, with lineman who can run block etc.

Do they pass the ball?

Well, on the season this is not excellent, but with Keith perhaps those numbers can improve.

How is their run/pass balance.

Kent is typically a run first team. For example, against Miami they ran 41 times and passed 11. Other games have been more even and Baylor was actually 45 passes against 25 runs. My guess is that if they can run the ball, they prefer it, so BG will have to stop the run before Keith starts to throw the ball.

Do they convert on 3rd Down.

They are last in the entire FBS, converting on 18% of their 3rd down plays. The #12 team in the MAC has converted on 32%. This is a shockingly bad number, and explains (in part) the disparity between their yard per play production and scoring production.

Do they score in the red zone?

They are also worst in the MAC on this category. First, they only have made the red zone 12 times in 5 games, which is not great. They have come away with no points exactly HALF of the time (also the worst figure in FBS), three times on missed FGs and three times on turnovers or downs. Obviously, this is the other half of the scoring/yards per play issue. 2.5 points per trip is very poor.

Do they protect the quarterback?

They have given up 7 sacks in 5 games, which is in the middle of the MAC pack.

So what do we have? A team with some productivity that is being hampered by an inability to convert on 3rd down and in the redzone.


Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

Kent is very solid on defense. They are 4th in the MAC in scoring defense and yards per play allowed.

Do they defend the run effectively?

Yes, they are 3rd in the MAC, allowing 4 yards per carry, which is pretty good. It is a full 1.5 yards better PER CARRY than BG.

Could they be passed on?

They are third in the MAC in pass EFFICIENCY defense, and their 6.5 yards per pass is above average. They only allow 57% completions, so when there is a completion, it is probably a tad longer than normal. They also get excellent pressure, see below.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

Given the other numbers this should not be a surprise, but they do get off the field well. They allow only 34% on third down.

Do they defend in the red zone?

This is a mild weakness. They have allowed 21 red zone trips (only Toledo and Miami have allowed more) and have only three outright stops. Now, they have gotten no missed FGs, which is kind of a half-gift to the defense. Their points per trip is 4.1, which is based on a better than average tendency to force a FG (There have been 7 red zone FGs against KSU this year).

Do they pressure the QB?

10 sacks in 5 games is second in the conference.

Special Teams:


Their average net is 36.3 is 5th in the MAC.

Punt Return?

For the season, 12 yards a return is a very good average. They had Jarvis returning punts, however, and he was getting 15 per return. Muldrow (the guy after Jarvis) is averaging 9.


Not good. He is 3-7 and has missed 6 times inside of 40 yards. Kent has had three kicks blocked.


Kent is fourth in the MAC in kickoff returns, with a propensity for shorter kicks and shorter returns.

Kickoff Return?

Kent is 5th in the conference in kickoff return average and has 1 TD.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

You can throw out the record book when the Centennial Cup is on the line. Seriously.

A few notes:

  • Kent's coach is on the hot seat. There is pressure for him to win, and they have to view this as a winnable game.
  • Kent's offense is kind of coming together differently from the beginning of the year. It will be interesting to see if they can get completely in sync.
  • Bowling Green has serious match up issues here. We are poor defending the run and that is Kent's strength and offense is not executing and will have to be very effective against the Flashes defense.
  • BG really needs a win here. Not to be overly pessimistic, but without this win, even six wins looks pretty un-possible (in the words of Ralph Wiggum), especially when we don't win at home, blah blah. So, I think there is some pressure on the team. With a win, we can be right back in the race.

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