KENT STATE (3-4, 2-1) @ OHIO (5-2, 3-0)
Saturday, October 24, 2009 | 2:00P.M.
Peden Stadium (24,000 - FieldTurf) | Athens, Ohio
Radio: WNIR/100.1 FM (Tom Linder, Rob Polinsky & Ty Linder)
Series: Ohio leads 38-21-2. The teams have split the last eight meetings. KSU has won three of the last four at Peden Stadium. The visiting team has won each of the last three games in the series. Kent State is 12-17-1 in Athens.
Last meeting: Ohio 26, Kent State 19 | October 11, 2008
Last meeting in Athens: Kent State 33, Ohio 25 | September 29, 2007
Ohio Bobcats history: Ohio's first season of football was in 1894. Their all time record is 494-513-48 (.491). Their first year in the MAC was 1947 and they are 197-237-11 (.466) in the MAC. They won MAC Championships in 1953, 1960, 1963, 1967, 1968 and won the MAC East in 2006. They have played in Bowl Games in 1962 (Sun Bowl), 1968 (Tangerine Bowl) and 2007 (GMAC Bowl).
KENT STATE Quick facts
- LB Cobrani Mixon averages 10.7 tackles per game which is third in the MAC and 12th nationally.
- FS Brian Lainhart has 10 interceptions in his last 14 games.
- KSU has started five true freshman this season, which is second in the MAC to Miami who has started six true freshman.
- KSU has scored 19 touchdowns this season and six of those have come on one play drives. Four others have come on drives of two minutes or less. Another TD came on a kickoff return and another on a blocked field goal. KSU has only put together seven touchdowns on drives of longer than two minutes.
- The Golden Flashes average 7.86 tackles for loss per game which is first in the MAC and tied for 12th nationally. They have 16 takeaways which are second in the MAC and tied for 14th nationally.
- KSU has started MAC play at 3-1 or better only eight times while playing in the conference.
OHIO quick facts
- They lead the nation in takeaways with 23 and fumbles recovered with 12. They are sixth in interceptions with 11.
- It is tied for third in the nation in kicks/punts blocked with 3.
-They are seventh in the nation in turnover margin at 1.43.
- Ohio has had as many or fewer turnovers as the opposition in eight straight games.
- The offensive line has not allowed a sack in the last five games, the longest such streak for the program under Frank Solich.
- The Bobcats are 23-6 when leading at halftime since the 2005 season.
- Ohio is 111th in the nation in net punting (32.0).
-They are tied for 111th in red zone offense, 115th in red zone touchdown percentage and 116th in first downs on offense.
We say it every game, and this week is no different. There is a little added emphasis to the turnover story this week because of Ohio’s ability to force them. By now, most fans probably have heard that the Bobcats lead the nation in takeaways (23) and fumbles recovered (12). They are also sixth in passes intercepted with 11. They are seventh in the nation in turnover margin at 1.43. Ohio has had as many or fewer turnovers as the opposition in eight straight games. Their defense thrives off them with secondary people who are very active in their man coverage while getting their hands on a lot of footballs. Kent State will have to protect the football while carrying it and also have Spencer Keith make good decisions, with the receivers securing the football. “When you look at the turnovers they are getting on film, part of it is the speed at which they are playing,” Doug Martin said. Opponents have fumbled 16 times, and Ohio has gotten 12 of them. That’s really remarkable. That’s a result of their guys flying to the football.” Kent State is second in the MAC and tied for 14th nationally in forcing turnovers with 16. The turnover battle could go a long way in deciding who wins this football game.
Two of the best teams in the Mid-American Conference when it comes to their special teams units square off Saturday in Athens. Kent State leads the nation in kickoff coverage and the punt coverage team is 11th in the nation. Anthony Bowman has averaged 24.6 yards on kick returns with a touchdown included. The Golden Flashes have also scored on a blocked field goal this season. The Bobcats have blocked three punts on the season and have scored touchdowns in both the kickoff and punt return units. Both teams have shown the ability to make big plays on special teams this season. Kent State will have to continue to make some big plays on special teams while attempting to limit the Bobcats’ explosive units.
ATTACKING THE MAN COVERAGE
Kent State will have to attack the middle of the field and throw the ball vertically on Ohio’s man coverage. QB Spencer Keith will have a big test to put the throws on the money and hopefully his receivers can make plays. Ohio gets a lot of tipped passes that lead to interceptions. “This is going to be a good test for Spencer,” said Martin. “He is going to have to not only put us in the right play at times, but he is going to have to be very accurate. His arm strength is going to be tested in this game.”
EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITY
It has been well documented this week that Kent State football has not had many games in late October that have been meaningful in regards to conference title implications. Saturday is one of those games. Kent State can claim a share of first place if they can beat Ohio and Toledo can beat Temple on Saturday night. I imagine the Golden Flashes won’t be lacking any excitement or enthusiasm as they take the turf at Peden Stadium on Saturday afternoon. I hope KSU plays with pride and passion and enjoys the opportunity to play a big Mid-American Conference game in late October against a very good football team in the Ohio Bobcats.