The Kent State defensive secondary will certainly be put to the test when they take on the Bowling Green Falcons this Saturday at Dix Stadium for Homecoming weekend. The Falcons' passing attack is led by veteran quarterback Tyler Sheehan. The Cincinnati native has thrown for 7,521 career passing yards (second best in school history) and 50 touchdowns in his career. Thus far in the 2009 season Sheehan ranks second in the MAC and ninth in the nation with 291 yards per game passing. "Sheehan is really playing well," KSU head coach Doug Martin said. "I think he's really adapted well to their offense. He's really seeing the field well and really puts the ball around a lot of different places. They got some receivers that can really make plays."
The receiver that makes the most plays for the Falcons and the most in the country is senior Freddie Barnes. Barnes leads the nation in receptions with 53, ten more then the second place receiver. In the opening game win against Troy, Barnes caught 15 passes for 157 yards which was a school record for receptions in a game at the time. Not to be out done, Barnes established a new school record with 17 catches at Marshall.
Bowling Green has thrown the football 247 times this season, ranking second in the country behind Texas Tech. They are averaging 49.4 attempts and 30.6 completions a game, which are both on pace to become new school records. Martin knows that BGSU will complete their share of passes and score some points. He also knows that he can't let the Falcons' running game, which ranks last in the MAC, become an issue. "They're relying heavily on the pass," Martin said. "We have to make them beat us throwing the football. We have to make them one-dimensional, then we can come after the quarterback."
SNEAK PEEK TO SATURDAY'S KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Put pressure on BGSU's quarterback Tyler Sheehan.
2. Make the Falcons one-dimensional by not letting the running game to get going at all.
3. Play physical with Bowling Green's wide receivers.
4. Take advantage of offensive opportunities in the red zone. KSU needs to finish drives by scoring during trips into the red zone with preferably touchdowns.
5. Bowling Green's defense surrendered several explosion play touchdowns last week against Ohio. Kent State needs to hit some big plays of their own while limiting BG's quick strike offense.
6. Make a big play(s) on special teams. In Kent State's two victories this season, special teams have played well and made the difference in both games.
KSU Notes - October 7
Dave Carducci from the Record Courier checks in today with some notes about RB Alan Vanderink possibly being out for the season, the offensive line returning to full strength,the defense's ability to force turnovers and play stingy red zone defense and the offense using Jon Simpson and Jameson Konz in the middle of the field more.
Elton Alexander from The Plain Dealer is writing about the offensive struggles in the red zone, and the ability to block on field goals.
The real problem: There is little question Kent State's true freshman Spencer Keith is outperforming sophomore QB Giorgio Morgan, who has yet to throw a TD pass this season. But quarterback is not 'the Golden Flashes' biggest problem. That remains the ongoing issues with the offensive line. Even though head coach Doug Martin says his line is playing well, the red zone performance argues otherwise. The Golden Flashes are at the bottom of the MAC in red zone efficiency, converting just six of 12 chances. Ten of 13 teams convert 70 percent or better. Martin does acknowledge problems blocking in the kicking game, and said there will be changes. "We're going to overhaul the whole unit," he said. "We've got to get that fixed because we have a good kicker [freshman Fred Cortez]."
As Kent State and Bowling Green are set to launch the Centennial Cup Challenge on Saturday as well as play for The Anniversary Award, the Kent Stater takes a look at some of the lighter aspects of the rivalry between the two schools.
Rachel Miller is the current Kent State Athlete of the Week. The Kent Stater features the Australian field hockey star for the Golden Flashes.