KENT STATE (0-2) Vs. DELAWARE STATE (1-0)
Game time: 2:00 p.m.
At: The Newly-renovated Dix Stadium.
The best cure for what ails the 0-2 Kent State football team right now would be a home victory, and no fumbles, in the newly renovated Dix Stadium.
The Flashes will get their chance Saturday against Delaware State, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA).
After two weeks of playing ACC (Boston College) and Big XII (Iowa State) brutes The Flashes get to take on an inferior (on paper at least) opponent. That doesn’t mean the Hornets should be taken lightly though.
Delaware State finished last season with two losses (10-2, 8-0 MEAC). A 38-7 loss to Kent State at Dix Stadium and a FCS playoff loss to a Joe Flacco-led Delaware team, Flacco was a first round pick of the Baltimore Ravens.
Last year’s loss to Kent State was the first time Delaware State had played a Division IA opponent since 1987.
The Hornets, who won the MEAC last year, return nearly 40 letter winners including 14 starters (eight on offense, six on defense).
-- Delaware State
Senior quarterback Vashon Winton returns for the Hornets after throwing for 1,618 yards last season and completing nearly 60 percent of his passes. Winton is a three-year starter, but had one of his worst games of the season last year against the Flashes (11-21 for 74 yards).
In last week’s win over Florida A&M, Winton threw for 174 yards on 21-33 passing. He did throw two interceptions.
-- Kent State
Julian Edelman has been an integral part of coach Doug Martin’s rebuilding process that last three years. Despite the fumbles, Martin has always been steadfast that Edelman is his starting quarterback, so much so that this could be his favorite song…
Edelman’s two fumbles in last Saturday’s loss at Iowa State, coupled with two punts blocked and two other fumbles, had Martin piping mad this week and ready to mix things up.
The fumbilitis has Martin currently singing Olivia Newton John’s “You’re the one that I want” instead.
Outside of the physical miscues, Edelman by all accounts played a great game last week. He passed for three touchdowns on 10 of 22 passing for 171 yards. But as Martin says, if he can’t hold on to the ball he can’t play.
If Edelman doesn’t “shape up” it could very well be Giorgio Morgan time, but I would expect things to stay at a constant this week against the Hornets.
Is there even a question as to this one? Eugene Jarvis rushed for 155 yards last week on 24 carries. Delaware State running back Chris Strother did rush for 144 yards on 32 carries last week, but it was against Florida A&M. He is already half way to his total a season ago ( 335). The difference Jarvis has proven he can do it against anyone in College football. Strothers is doing it against Division IAA teams. Leading rusher Kareem Jones is also back.
How could anyone forget Shawn Bayes going over a Delaware State defender last year for the touch down. Oh yea, it’s on every billboard around here promoting the season.
The Flashes wide out corps is nothing to write home about, but the Hornets lost their top receiver, Shaheer McBride, who was responsible for nearly 1/3 of their passing offense last year.
I also like Jameson Konz and Jonathan Simpson at tight end for the Flashes. Both are premium talents if they are used correctly (Konz) and overcome mental gaffes (Simpson).
Martin challenged this unit to be more physical against a bigger Iowa State team and they answered the challenge. Perhaps the only bright spot that Martin was able to harp about at Monday’s press conference.
The Hornets return four starters on the offensive line, yet this unit, and the rest of the hornet offense, was held to 191 yards of total offense last year against the Flashes. They also gave up three sacks.
It is really hard to gauge how good the Kent State defensive line is right now. Against the bigger, stronger Boston College and Iowa State teams there was running room that probably shouldn’t have been there.
What I do like though is Monte Simmons showed up at Iowa State as he recorded his first sack of the season. Of his four tackles Saturday, two of them were for a loss.
The Hornets only real loss on the defensive line was Kelly Rouse, who had seven tackles and a sack against the Flashes last year. This unit will be lead by Ronn Spinner, Jr. who had 3.5 sacks last year.
Perhaps the most impressive play I saw all last season was former Delaware State linebacker Russell Reeves hitting Edelman in the backfield and forcing Edelman to scramble to his right before finding (former) wide receiver Rashad Tukes 20 yards down field. Tukes took off for the end zone, rumbling another 36 yards for the score.
Tukes leaped for the goal line and was struck by none other than Reeves who somehow made up more than 60 yards of field. Reeves finished that game with 14 tackles and is a special, special player.
it’s too bad he graduated.
The edge must go to Kent State on this one. As Cobrani Mixon continues to get comfortable he will continue to play better and better.
I gave the entire Kent State team a mulligan for the Boston College game based on the size and physical attributes of the Golden Eagles, but I loved the way the secondary was hitting out there.
I didn’t see the Iowa State game, but in that first game Boston College was a much bigger team, but felt every hit from safety Brian Lainhart and corner Donny Sadler. Senior Rico Murray also stepped up as a vocal leader this week, Martin said.
The Hornets are forced to replace all four starters from a year ago.
Can Kent State recover from two blocked punts last week. The plays might have left freshman punter Matt Rinehart “brain damaged,” coach Martin said Monday. I hope not Rinehart is off to a solid start, despite the blocking mishaps.
The Flashes special teams continue to be atrocious and must be cleaned up in order for the Flashes to make any move on anyone.