KENT STATE (2-3, 1-0 MAC) vs. BOWLING GREEN (1-4, 0-1 MAC)
Saturday, October 10, 2009 | 3:30 p.m. EST
Dix Stadium (25,000) | Kent, Ohio
Television: Fox Sports Ohio/ESPN360.com (Jeff Phelps & Hanford Dixon)
Radio: WNIR/100.1 FM (Tom Linder, Rob Polinsky & Ty Linder)
Series: KSU and BG are playing for the 77th time. BG leads the all time series with a 54-16-6 record. The Falcons have a 29-7-2 record in Kent. They have won seven of the last eight meetings overall and four in a row at Dix Stadium. Bowling Green is KSU's most often played opponent.
KSU Homecoming record: 21-41
Homecoming record vs. BG (last meeting in 1979): 2-11
Note: With a win, Kent State would improve to 2-0 in the conference for just the third time in the past 32 years. The previous 2-0 starts were in 2006 and 1986.
The Anniversary Award: Since 1985, KSU and BG have played for The Anniversary Award, which was established by the school's respective alumni departments. BG has won 19 of the 23 meetings since the inception of the award.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. MAKE BG ONE-DIMENSIONAL
Kent State can’t allow the Falcons to be able to productively run the football. Even though Willie Geter is a capable back, BG is last in the MAC and 117th in the nation at 70.2 rushing yards a game. With Bowling Green’s potent passing attack, it will be a long day if BG is able to find success on the ground.
2. PRESSURE THE PASSER
If Kent State is able to shut down Bowling Green’s running game then they can come after the passer a little bit more effectively. BG quarterback Tyler Sheehan is not exactly the most mobile quarterback so making him feel uncomfortable and leave the pocket will help KSU’s defensive effort. If Sheehan has time to throw, he can pick a defense apart.
3. PLAY PHYSICAL WITH BG WIDE RECEIVERS
Kent State’s secondary will have to play physical with Bowling Green’s receivers. ''We're going to have to be physical with their wide receivers because they do a great job of spreading the ball around,'' Doug Martin said. ''It's not that they just throw it to one receiver. Sheehan is a tremendous quarterback with a lot of experience, and he's seeing the field a lot better than he has in the past.'' If Bowling Green’s passing attack gets in a rhythm, it will make Sheehan and his receivers feel comfortable and they will control the football. Bowling Green is sixth in the country in time of possession.
4. FINISH DRIVES IN THE RED ZONE
Kent State needs to take advantage of their red zone opportunities, not squander promising field position, and stick the ball in the end zone. Blocked kicks, penalties and turnovers haunted the Flashes last week against Baylor. This could be the type of the game that will be won with touchdowns, as BG is bound to put up some points. Kent State needs to be able to execute in the red zone and score points every chance they get.
5. EXPLOSION PLAYS
Kent State’s offense needs to hit some big plays while limiting Bowling Green’s ability to strike quickly. Last week in a 44-37 loss to Ohio, Bowling Green allowed a 27 yard pass, 72 yard punt return, 37 yard run, 35 yard pass and a 68 yard run for touchdowns. KSU has their share of game breakers like Jacquise Terry, Dri Archer, Tyshon Goode and Jameson Konz to continue that negative trend for the BG defense.
6. BIG PLAYS ON SPECIAL TEAMS
In Kent State’s two victories this season, special teams have been a big part of it. If Kent State can come up with a big return, blocked kick, turnover or anything to swing the momentum of the game, they should win. Also, Kent State needs to clean up their field goal kicking unit and be solid in that area. Doug Martin and his staff have supposedly revamped the unit to see if they can block for talented kicker Freddy Cortez this week.
7. TURNOVER MARGIN
As usual, the turnover margin will be huge. In Kent State’s two victories this season they have forced seven turnovers and had only two of their own. In the three losses they have forced six turnovers and committed eleven of their own. The defense has been relying on turnovers this season and Saturday they will need to come up with some to slow down BG’s offense.