KENT STATE (5-6, 4-3 MAC) vs. BUFFALO (4-7, 2-5 MAC)
Friday, November 27, 2009 | 2:00 p.m.
Dix Stadium (25,000/FieldTurf) | Kent, Ohio
Radio: WNIR/100.1 FM (Tom Linder, Rob Polinksy & Ty Linder)
Series: Kent State leads the overall series 9-8. The Golden Flashes lead the series in Kent 5-4. Buffalo has won three of the last four, but KSU won last season in Buffalo, 24-21. Since Buffalo has joined the MAC, KSU leads the series 6-4, and is 3-2 during that span at home, losing the last two at Dix Stadium. In those ten MAC contests, two have gone to overtime. This year's meeting marks the seventh straight contest between the teams in the month of November.
Last meeting: Kent State 24, Buffalo 21 | November 28, 2008
Last meeting in Kent: Buffalo 30, Kent State 23 | November 24, 2007
Buffalo recent history: Buffalo joined Division - 1A in 1999 and from that season until 2006, the Bulls went 12-79. Buffalo picked up their first MAC road win in 2005 at Kent State in a 10-6 win. In 2007 the Bulls had a breakthrough season with a 5-7 record, including 5-3 in the MAC which won them a share of the MAC East. Last season, everything fell into place for Buffalo as they won the MAC Championship over Ball State 42-24. In that game the Bulls won despite being out gained 503-301, thanks to two fumble recoveries that were returned for touchdowns. Buffalo played in their first ever bowl game last season, losing to Connecticut in the International Bowl, 20-38. Buffalo's Turner Gill was a finalist for the Nebraska job in 2007 and Auburn in 2008. He was named MAC Coach of the Year in 2008 and received a two year contract extension.
KENT STATE Quick Facts
- Kent State can become bowl eligible for the first time since 2006 with a win and get to six wins for just the fourth time in 31 years.
- Kent State will honor 21 seniors prior to the game. Notable players in the senior group include OL Dante Campbell, DL Sam Frist, DE Kevin Hogan, DL Aaron Hull, WR Jameson Konz, LB Anthony Mirando and QB Anthony Magazu.
- Kent State is expected to play both Magazu and sophomore Giorgio Morgan at quarterback after Spencer Keith was injured at Temple last week. Magazu's only other career start came two years ago against Buffalo. Magazu was 12-22 for 184 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 30-23 loss in overtime.
- RB Jacquise Terry leads the Flashes on the ground with 633 yards on the season with four touchdowns.
- WR Tyshon Goode has 52 receptions for 750 yards and five touchdowns.
- MLB Cobrani Mixon leads the team with 98 tackles while DE Monte Simmons has 7.5 sacks and 13.5 TFL.
- FS Brian Lainhart leads the team with six interceptions.
- According to the depth chart for the Buffalo game (and including QB Spencer Keith), Kent State will return nine starters on offense and six starters on defense plus all specialists in the 2010 season.
BUFFALO Quick Facts
- After winning the MAC Championship in 2008, the Bulls have struggled in the MAC in 2009. The Bulls have lost their last four conference games by a total of 14 points, including giving Central Michigan (9-2, 7-0) their closest MAC game this year.
- Despite losing All-MAC running back James Starks before the season to a shoulder injury, Buffalo's rushing attack ranks fourth in the MAC and the Bulls are second in the MAC in total offense (413.8 yards per game).
- Sophomore QB Zach Maynard has thrown for 2,513 yards and 18 touchdowns while completing 60 percent of his passes. He has thrown 13 interceptions and rushed for 288 yards.
- RB Ike Nduka leads the team with 598 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Brandon Thermilus has 437 yards and four touchdowns. It has been running back by committee a little bit due to injuries. Euclid, Ohio native Jeffvon Gill has also seen action this season.
- In fact, Buffalo has five different running backs on their roster who have combined for 18 100-yard rushing games in their career with the Bulls.
- While missing Naaman Roosevelt to injury, senior Brett Hamlin is UB's active leading receiver with 59 catches on the season for 812 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Jesse Rack has seven touchdown catches.
- DB Davonte Shannon has 89 tackles and two interceptions while LB Justin Winters has 6.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks and 73 tackles.
- Since the 2008 season, 15 out of 25 games for Buffalo have been decided by one possession. In 2009 the Bulls are 2-5 in those games.
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR KENT STATE
FIND SOME OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION - Whether it is Anthony Magazu or Giorgio Morgan at quarterback on Friday, the Golden Flashes will need to find a way to move the football. Morgan didn't look very good at all against Temple, while Magazu looked a little better. Magazu is expected to get the start since he is a fifth year senior and has been around the program for a long time. I'm all for that, but I also hope Morgan plays a good amount. Morgan is going to be here next season, Magazu isn't. Morgan needs the experience as he will most likely be called upon to play next season as the backup quarterback to Spencer Keith. Don't be surprised to see some Wildcat formations with either Matthew Hurdle or Leneric Muldrow in the shotgun. Also, head coach Doug Martin likes gimmick plays so I wouldn't be surprised to see him and offensive coordinator A.J. Pratt dial up some trick plays and do everything they can to win the game. If the passing game is non-existent like it was last week after Keith got hurt, expect the Flashes to try and grind this game out on the ground.
CONTAIN BUFFALO RUNNING GAME - Buffalo features a solid running game with several capable running backs that can step in and gain yards behind a solid offensive line. The Bulls rank fourth in the conference in rushing at 166 yards a game. Buffalo loves to do boot legs off play-action while getting mobile quarterback Zach Maynard out on the edge, where he is a very accurate passer. If Kent State can contain Buffalo's running game it will put the Bulls at a disadvantage in regards to down and distance and their play-action game won't be as effective. Also, Buffalo's go-to receiver Naaman Roosevelt won't play in this game due to injury so that takes a huge playmaker out of their offense.
GET BOWL ELIGIBLE, SEND SENIORS OUT ON A GOOD NOTE - Kent State can get bowl eligible for the first time since 2006 and it would push KSU to six wins for just the fourth time in 31 years. Much like last season, a victory in the season ending game against Buffalo can go a long way for a positive vibe heading into the off-season. Also, you want to send your seniors out by winning their senior day game. Kent State hasn't won their final home game since beating Eastern Michigan in the 2006 season. Five players are scheduled to receive their degrees in the upcoming fall commencement (Magazu, Brown, Frist, Konz, Richey). Kent State has a solid program based on character and it starts with Coach Martin and his staff. I hope these seniors can have one last win to celebrate at Kent State, and I hope the players coming back can use a win to push them this off-season and into the 2010 season.