KENT STATE (1-1) vs. IOWA STATE (1-1)
Saturday, September 19, 2009, 7:00P.M.
Dix Stadium, Kent RADIO: WNIR/100.1 FM
CONTAINING IOWA STATE QB AUSTEN ARNAUD
Iowa State’s Austen Arnaud is a true dual threat at quarterback. Arnaud, an Ames native, is only in his second season as the starter and he is in the school’s top 10 in career passing yards and completions. The junior signal caller has his own rush package within the Cyclones’ offense and he can make big plays with his feet. Arnaud’s pass has a lot of zip on it. Arnaud is coming off what he called the worst game he ever played for ISU. He was 10-22 for 79 yards and four interceptions in a 3-35 loss vs. Iowa last week. Arnaud made several bad decisions with the football, often just lofting the ball into double or triple coverage where Iowa’s ball hawking secondary, most notably safety Tyler Sash who had three interceptions in the game, roamed and feasted in Arnaud's mistakes. With that poor performance behind him, Arnaud is the key to the Cyclones’ offense. Arnaud has to remember he doesn’t have to do it by himself with talented RB Alexander Robinson and a bunch of talented, big receivers. The Kent State defense will have its hands full with the talented field general and his weapons. KSU will have to take away an element from Arnaud. It will make for a long night if he is running and throwing all over the Golden Flashes.
As usual, winning the turnover battle could be key to KSU’s success. In addition to Arnaud’s four picks, backup QB Jerome Tiller threw an interception and Robinson lost a fumble that contributed to a whopping six turnovers which put ISU at – 4 for the game in the turnover department. The Kent State defense has put added emphasis on the takeaway since last season and they will need to get some Saturday night. Iowa State will be in the spread for the entire game and will put the ball in the air several times so the defense will have its opportunities to make some plays. The defensive backfield will have its challenges dealing with ISU’s big, physically imposing wide receivers.
KEITH MAKES FIRST START
Freshman Spencer Keith will make his first start at quarterback for the Golden Flashes Saturday night. Keith settled down and looked impressive in the second half last week at Boston College. Everything I have heard about Keith is that he is an extremely intelligent young man and Doug Martin has raved about his ability to grasp the offensive system during pre-season camp. I would expect ISU defensive coordinator Wally Burnham to dial up some different blitzes and pressures and do several things to confuse young Keith.
DEALING WITH DISTRACTIONS
It’s been a tough week for Kent State football to say the least. A program that could use a break, a program that is doing a lot of good things within its football operations, a program that consistently has had disappointments on the football field had more bad news this week. Eugene Jarvis is out for the season with a lacerated kidney. That one hurt more because of the type of character and the type of representative that Jarvis was for KSU. It goes way beyond winning and losing football games. Then Doug Martin made comments that have caused controversy about burning the NCAA down if Jarvis doesn’t get a sixth year of eligibility. Then Martin came out and guaranteed a winning season and a bowl game appearance for the program this season. Whether you agree with his comments, disagree, like them or dislike them, it’s been a tumultuous week for the team. How will the team respond? Do they rally behind their leader’s injury and coaches’ comments and win the MAC East? Or do they continue down the road of another losing season in a long line of similar seasons for the program. We will see.