KENT STATE (1-2, 0-0) VS. MIAMI (0-3, 0-1)
Saturday, September 26 7:00P.M. Dix Stadium, Kent
RADIO: WNIR/100.1 FM INTERNET: wnir.com, K-Zone
SERIES: Miami 44-12 Last Meeting: KSU 54-21, 10/25/08
MUST WIN GAME
Both Kent State (1-2, 0-0) and Miami (0-3, 0-1) desperately need a victory to help kick start their season. For Kent State, a loss could send their season spiraling downhill. After having to face a lot of adversity already, a win is crucial to help the confidence and belief that they can win without their best player Eugene Jarvis. It is also big to get off to a good start in MAC play.
I think it is important for Kent State to get off to a good start in this game. This week Doug Martin spoke about how the team played last week like they didn’t know what to expect from QB Spencer Keith, and once they started playing after they saw how Keith was performing, it was too late. Getting off to a good start will do a lot for the confidence of the team, and keep the fans on their side. It would be deflating if Miami comes down and scores a touchdown on the opening possession, or if an early turnover leads to a short field for a Miami offense that has struggled to this point. Kent State needs to come out early and prove to themselves that they can win.
GET THE RUNNING GAME GOING
Kent State will need to improve its running game if they want to win on Saturday. Last week’s 32 attempts for 47 yards and 1.5 yard average will not get it done. The running game can help out whichever quarterback is in the game, and can hopefully make for manageable third downs, instead of the 3rd and 10 and beyond that the Golden Flashes have faced several times this season. Kent State is last in the nation with a 15 percent third down conversion rate, going 6 for 41. A respectable running game can help put the Flashes in a better position to improve upon that stat.
FINDING AN IDENTITY
Along the same lines of improving in the running game, Kent State needs to find their identity. Before the season started, many people would have said the strong running game is Kent State’s identity. Now with Eugene Jarvis out, Kent State is searching. What can this football team hang their hat on? What will they do well, week in and week out, consistently? After three weeks of football, the identity is unclear. The Golden Flashes get another opportunity Saturday night to win a football game and find some consistent successes as they go forward this season.
FINDING LEADERS ON OFFENSE
Doug Martin and his staff need some leaders to emerge on the offensive side of the football. It is clear on the defensive side that Brian Lainhart and Cobrani Mixon lead the unit, with help from Sam Frist. With the two offensive captains out last week against Iowa State, the leadership was not on the field. KSU could be helped by the return of Giorgio Morgan at QB, but other guys will need to step forward. Guys like Jon Simpson, Chris Anzevino, Andre Flowers, etc. will need to step forth and take some ownership of the offense.
Kent State scored their biggest margin of victory in this series last season in a 54-21 win in Oxford. It was also the most points scored by a visitor in the 26 year history of Yager Stadium. Unfortunately for Kent State, six of the seven touchdowns scored in that game were from Eugene Jarvis and Julian Edelman. Kent State has just one win in the last 19 meetings at Dix Stadium. A win would give KSU consecutive wins over Miami for the first time since winning three in a row from 1986-88.
Miami’s starting free safety is Anthony Kokal, who is third on the team with 25 tackles. Anthony is the son of Greg Kokal. Greg directed the Flashes’ offense from the QB position in 1972 when KSU won the MAC championship. Greg Kokal was inducted into KSU’s Varsity K Hall of Fame in 1990. He ranks third in Kent State history in completions, attempts, yards and touchdowns.
HAYWOOD ON KENT STATE
Miami’s first year head coach Michael Haywood weighed in the match up with Kent State: “In watching them on tape, they’re faster than I thought they were. The freshman quarterback they’re playing now is really good. There’s a bright future for Kent State at quarterback because he throws the ball well. Special teams wise, their punt team flies and does a great job covering the ball carrier. They are a better football team than the score indicates.”
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