Kent State (1-0) at Boston College (1-0)--3:30 Sept. 11--ESPNU
Breakdown on Boston College: The Eagles opened with a 38-20 win over Weber State last Saturday, but it wasn't as close as the score would suggest. That being said, the passing game wasn't up to snuff. Sophomore quarterback Dave Shinskie threw for 185 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions while completing just 50% of his passes. Shinskie only recently won the starting gig, but he did complete 9-16 passes for 76 yards, a score and a pick last season against Kent State. Shinskie says he is expecting the Flashes to bring the blitz early and often.
What To Watch For: The Passing Game--For most of the first half last Thursday it appeared quarterback Spencer Keith and his gunslinging counterpart from Murray State would turn the night into a six-shooter showdown at high-noon.
Keith came out of the gates guns-a-blazing, completing 9-10 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. He went on to have the best night of his career (24-35, 275 yards, three touchdowns, one interception), but the night was not without flaws. Keith held onto the football a little too long a couple of times, taking the sack when throwing the ball away was a better choice. Head Coach Doug Martin also said he hopes Keith will tuck it away and run the ball more frequently. All this almost seems nit-picky for a sophomore in the opener for the season, especially when he did a fantastic job of changing pass protections and plays at the line of scrimmage.
Sam Kirkland coming out the shadows to grab nine catches for 126 yards and a touchdown was a nice boost to Martin's offense. Much of the focus was on the Keith-Goode connection, after some great chemistry was built between the two last year. Coach Martin says Kirkland's success can be attributed to his buying into the system, practicing harder and watching game-film on his own for the first time.
It'll be interesting to see who gets the most targets, and how Keith responds to calling a game against a defense up to the caliber of Boston College.
Keys To Victory: 1. Keep Up--This isn't a game the Flashes will jump out to a lead and use the running game to dribble the clock away (first time the word "dribble" has been used in a football article). Cooler heads need to prevail, and the goal is to enter the fourth quarter within striking distance.
2. Balanced attack--Kent State can expect the Eagles to try to blitz, confuse Keith and stop the run. Doug Martin's offense will have to stay two-dimensional, or Martin's play-calling will suffer.
3. Blitz--Buck pass-specialist Monte Simmons is out for a month, but pressure is a must to disrupt Boston College's timing. Without pressure, the Flashes don't stand a chance.
Biggest Question Mark: The Buck--With Simmons out, sophomore Jake Dooley will most likely see the most snaps. Dooley had a very strong fall camp. Behind him, redshirt freshman C.J. Steward and a slew of others will see time.
Additives and Fillers: BC defensive end Mark Herzlich might be college football's best story of the 2010 season, as he returns to football following cancer. Watch him--he was the ACC's Defensive Player Of The Year in 2008.
Worthless Prediction Of The Week: Boston College 28, Kent State 13