You can run on Kent State, and they will try to do the same to you.
Eugene Jarvis and Julian Edelman are scary runners out of the Flashes' backfield. They take comfort away from third-and-long.
Problem is, Jarvis probably won't play. The star running back has a high ankle sprain, according to Jonas Fortune's blog.
It is Edelman's feet that make his arm look serviceable. His scrambling essentially forces defenses to devote a player as a quarterback spy, which means there is one less defensive back. Shawn Bayes has been the only receiver worth mentioning so far. He has caught three touchdowns and almost 60 yards of passing per game.
Edelman is a creative offensive player. He can strike and make you hurt. However, it will be very difficult for Kent State to consistently move the chains without Jarvis' four or five yards per carry.
On defense, the Flashes' linebacker corps is suffering a similar problem as Akron's defensive line. KSU's three starting linebackers are hurt. If Akron's offensive line can make holes, it will be smooth sailing for Dennis Kennedy and Joe Tuzze into the secondary.
The Flashes also have allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 65 percent of passes, securing only one interception. With the Zips' backfield thinning, it would be good to incorporate more short passes to Jeremy Bruce and Dashan Miller to keep the clock moving and rest Kennedy.
The Flashes' greatest hope is that these rivalry games rarely proceed how we think. Two years ago, the Flashes pulled a stunner on Akron, derailing what Zips fans thought to be a follow-up on their MAC Championship. Last season, KSU beat Iowa State and held high hopes for the rest of the season. They came to the Rubber Bowl and lost, then dropped seven of their next eight.
Truth is, you never know. If motivation plays a role, you might give the edge to Kent State. I remember hearing some serious anger about the spray-painting incident. Unfortunately, that kind of motivation wears off after a few series, so the Flashes must find a better edge than that.