KENT STATE (2-2, 1-0 MAC) @ BAYLOR (2-1, 0-0 BIG 12)
Saturday, October 3, 2009 | 7:00P.M. EST
Floyd Casey Stadium (50,000) | Waco, Texas
Radio: WNIR/100.1 FM | Internet: WNIR.com
Television: Saturday's game at Baylor can be seen on television on a regional basis in the FSN Big 12 footprint which includes FSN Southwest, FSN Houston, FSN Midwest, FCS Pacific and on Direct TV 678, Dish 449 and AT&T Uverse 755. Cable viewers can see it on Fox College Sports – Pacific.
The game is also listed as being shown at the website channelsurfing.net.
BUILD ON LAST WEEK
Kent State needs to build on last week’s momentum and play well in this game as they look forward to next week’s game against Bowling Green on homecoming weekend. Doug Martin spoke about how the challenge now is for Kent State not to beat themselves. Zero turnovers committed and five turnovers forced in a win over Miami was an encouraging sign. The Flashes only had four penalties and one offensive in the win. Yes, the defense gave up over 500 yards offense in the win, but the team didn’t do other things that would have taken them out of the game. Kent State is not good enough to beat Baylor or anyone for that matter without winning the turnover margin and limiting penalties.
Hopefully Kent State can come out of this game relatively healthy as they move on with the rest of the MAC schedule. The team has already suffered some tough injuries this season, and can’t afford many more. The running back depth has already taken a hit in this game as Andre Flowers and Alan Vanderink are not expected to play due to injury. Doug Martin has said that he will play a lot of people in hopes to not get worn down against a bigger, stronger Baylor team. This will get playing time for more people and hopefully limit chances of injury. For Kent State, winning the MAC East remains the biggest goal. While beating a BCS team on the road would be a great thing for the program, first thing should be first for the Golden Flashes, and that is being a consistent winner in the MAC. Two years ago the Flashes won at Iowa State and at the time it appeared to be a signature win to a program that would finally compete year in and year out. Instead it led to another losing season. Avoiding injuries in this game would be a positive in this game.
HOW DOES BAYLOR RESPOND?
How will Baylor respond to losing their star quarterback for the season? Robert Griffin was the centerpiece to this team. With that said, they have playmakers on both sides of the ball and are an extremely talented team. Blake Szymanski comes back to start for the Bears and it sounds like his teammates have a lot of confidence in him. Martin has called Baylor the most talented BCS team that KSU has played during Martin’s tenure. It will be interesting to see if Baylor comes out flat and lacking energy, or if they come out inspired to press on without their fallen teammate.
3RD DOWNS/HELPING EACH OTHER OUT
The Kent State offense needs to help the defense out a little by staying on the field a little longer with sustained drives and third down conversions. Kent State struggled again last week going 2 for 11 on third down. Kent State is last in the nation at 8 for 52 for 15 percent on third downs. The defense played a whopping 91 plays last week against Miami and was noticeably tired. The defense can also help themselves. Forcing five turnovers last week was one way to get off the field. But Kent State’s defense will have to improve on third downs as Miami converted 9 of 17 last week. Running the football respectably will keep the clock running and will go a long way if Kent State is to be within striking distance in the fourth quarter to try and pull the upset.
BIG PLAYS IN KICKING GAME/TURNOVERS
Much like against Boston College, Kent State will need some big plays with turnovers or in the kicking game to take away from the down after down grind that it will be with Baylor from a physical standpoint. Big kickoff returns, blocked punts, turnovers deep in Baylor territory or any other type of plays that can turn the momentum in the Flashes’ favor will be needed if KSU is to be competitive on the scoreboard. Last week KSU got the kickoff return for a touchdown, a blocked punt, forced five turnovers and kicked three field goals. But Miami is not Baylor and Kent State will need to find other ways to make big plays.
LIMIT EXPLOSION PLAYS
Kent State needs to make Baylor go the length of the field and sustain drives if they are going to score. KSU’s secondary had a long day against Boston College and that led to two blown coverages and two easy touchdowns for the Eagles. Kent State can’t have that against Baylor. It is deflating to a team when a defense gives up an easy touchdown. Baylor is a very explosive team so it will be a big test, but making Baylor drive a long field is another key to the game.