KENT STATE (1-0) @ BOSTON COLLEGE (1-0)
Saturday, September 12, 2009 2:00P.M.
Chestnut Hill, Mass. Alumni Stadium (44,500)
Internet: ESPN360.com Radio: WNIR/100.1 FM, audio streaming at WNIR.com
If Kent State has any chance of pulling the upset Saturday afternoon at Boston College there are a few things that I would need to see for them to be competitive and perhaps stick around till the second half.
KEYS TO THE GAME
OFFENSIVE LINE PLAY/PASS PROTECTION
Kent State’s young offensive line will have the tough task of trying to contend with Boston College’s front seven that has “reloaded” according to head coach Doug Martin. Freshman tackles Kent Cleveland and Brian Winters will get a baptism by fire against the Eagles. It won’t be easy, but if the Flashes can give Giorgio Morgan or Spencer Keith time to throw, that will go a long way towards KSU hanging around in this game. Of course, Morgan injured his ankle last game vs. Coastal Carolina and Martin is unsure on how much he will play tomorrow. According to Martin, Morgan got hurt on a play where one of the linemen forgot to fan out and block a defender, who then had an open shot on Morgan. ''We are going to have to be really good protecting the passer and throwing the ball, because the running game is going to be difficult to manufacture,'' Martin said.
As with any game, the turnover battle will be important. Especially in this game, against a Boston College defense that is good enough as it is even if you don’t turn the ball over against them. BC makes offenses have long drives and waits for you to make a mistake. Kent State must take advantage of any scoring opportunity they may have and cannot turn the football over in these situations. On the flip side, if Kent State’s defense can get a turnover, particularly in BC territory, that will make for a shorter field against a stingy defensive unit.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAY/BIG PLAYS IN THE RETURN GAME
Along the same lines as turnovers, if Kent State’s Eugene Jarvis or someone else can make a big play or two in the kick return game, the Flashes will benefit from a short field and improve their chances of scoring like they did in game one. Of course Coastal Carolina isn’t Boston College but Jarvis can make anyone miss. I’m thinking Kent State will need a spark in the kicking game to make it a competitive game. Anything to take away from the down after down pounding that the BC offensive and defensive lines could put on the Flashes. An Achilles heel of the Flashes’ defense has been when big, physical teams line up and just bang away at KSU’s front seven. Matt Rinehart continued his solid punting from last year with a good opening game. It would also be nice to see freshman place kicker Freddy Cortez get some opportunities. Martin calls Cortez a “home run” from a recruitment stand point for the Golden Flashes.
We will see how this game plays out tomorrow afternoon. On Thursday night Martin hinted that Morgan’s ankle has not progressed the way they thought, and that he was not sure how much he would play Saturday. Flashes’ fans will most likely get their chance to see true freshman Spencer Keith make his debut, even though the staff would ideally like to redshirt him this season. Although many KSU fans would like to see the Golden Flashes be competitive with the Eagles and win, I am sure most of them would rather see the Flashes win the MAC East and play in the MAC Championship game. Looking down the line at the future of this season, that could lead to playing it safe and resting some of the starters, especially if the game is decided. Make no mistake about it, Kent State is going into this game to compete and ultimately to win, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the starters are out and other players get experience if the game is not in jeopardy. Kent State knows they have to compete and win against the MAC before they can compete against the BCS big boys.