KENT: Kent State can finally put one of the toughest nonconference schedules of any mid-major school behind it.

The Golden Flashes (1-3) opened the season with a 56-3 loss at defending national champion Clemson, and are coming off a 42-3 loss at Louisville to Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals.

The Flashes host Buffalo (2-2) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in their Mid-American Conference opener.

“Right after that [Louisville] game we told our guys we’re in MAC play now against teams that are like us, and we’re excited to get it started,” coach Paul Haynes said.

Making matters worse for the Flashes, they lost senior quarterback Nick Holley to a season-ending ACL tear in a 21-0 loss at Marshall on Sept. 16. Holley is scheduled to have surgery this week.

“You look at the things you did well, look at the things you’ve got to improve, and you just move forward,” Haynes said of his team’s performance through the first four weeks. “Everything that we want to accomplish is ahead of us.”

And it all begins with the Bulls, Haynes said.

“This is really when our season starts,” he said after the loss to Louisville. “Going against teams that are like us in all types of ways that we look forward to.”

Haynes said both junior George Bollas and freshman Dustin Crum will share reps at quarterback until he feels comfortable sticking with just one.

“We haven’t talked about it yet, but we’re probably in a two-quarterback system until one of them takes the bull by the horns,” Haynes said.

Both saw playing time against Louisville, but combined for just five pass attempts. Crum did rush for 62 yards on 18 carries, including a 30-yard run.

“[Crum] did a good job moving the football,” Haynes said. “He made some freshman mistakes but did a good job moving it.”

Kent State may also be without sophomore right tackle Mike Marinelli because of an arm injury. Haynes said Marinelli saw a doctor Monday.