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CFN Take: Kent State & Archer Blow By Ohio
Posted Nov 19, 2013

Kent State Golden Flashes 2013... Head Coach: Paul Haynes

Kent State Golden Flashes

2013 Record: 4-8
8/29 Liberty W 17-10
9/7 Bowling Green L 41-22
9/14 at LSU L 45-13
9/21 at Penn State L 34-0
9/28 at Western Mich W 32-14
10/5 NIU L 38-24
10/12 at Ball State L 27-24
10/19 at South Alabama L 38-21
10/26 Buffalo L 41-21
11/2 at Akron L 16-7
11/13 Miami Univ. W 24-6
11/19 at Ohio W 44-13
Kent State 44, at Ohio 13
Basically … Down 13-10 in the second quarter, Kent State dominated the rest of the way scoring 34 unanswered points. Dri Archer ran for scores from 24, five and 29 yards out, and defensive lineman Nate Terhune took a direct snap off a fake punt and went 61 yards for a score. Anthony Melchiori hit field goals from 47, 26 and 28 yards out for the Golden Flashes. Ohio’s lone touchdown came on a one-yard Mario Dovell catch early in the second quarter.
- Kent State outgained Ohio 537 yards to 204.
- Kent State RB Dri Archer ran 15 times for 138 yards and three scores and caught five passes for 53 yards
- Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton completed 11-of-24 passes for 132 yards and a score with a pick. Backup Darius Vick completed one of five passes or three yards.
- Kent State held on to the ball for over 36 minutes.

at Akron 16, Kent State 7, Nov. 2
Basically … Akron got field goals on all three red-zone visits to beat Kent State for its second MAC win of the year. The Zips’ sole touchdown came from a trick play on the fourth play from scrimmage when receiver Zach D’Orazio hit L.T. Smith for a 33-yard touchdown. Kent State tied it on a three-yard run by Trayion Durham, but that was the Golden Flashes’ only trip to the red zone and Akron’s Robert Stein hit three field goals from inside 30 yards to win the game.
- Akron RB Jawon Chisholm ran for 151 yards on 27 carries, but did not score.
- Kent State QB Colin Reardon completed less than 50 percent of his passes for 138 yards and three interceptions.
- Akron held the ball for 32:54, with three drives of more than five minutes and 10 plays.
- Kent State had five turnovers, but Akron only scored three points off them.

at Ball State 27, Kent State 24
Basically … Ball State got a seven-yard Willie Snead touchdown catch with just over a minute to play on the way to a three point lead, and the defense held as Kent State’s final drive stalled. Snead caught two of Keith Wenning’s four touchdown passes, but the Golden Flashes took the lead with ten fourth quarter points with Chris Humphrey catching a 28-yard touchdown pass and Brad Miller hitting a 21-yard field goal.
- It was a bit of a sluggish day from an explosive Ball Stat team, and the three turnovers were a problem, but Keith Wenning managed to go for 305 yards and four touchdowns with two picks. Willie Snead continues to put up massive numbers in a terrific season, catching ten passes for 152 yards and two scores including the game winner, but it took a big comeback late mainly because the defense couldn’t get off the field. Is should be smooth sailing now to 9-1 before facing Northern Illinois, but the defense has to be a bit tighter.
- Kent State played well enough to come up with a season changing win, but the defense couldn’t hang on. Colin Reardon was terrific, completing 19-of-24 passes for 166 yards and two scores with a pick, and it helped the Golden Flashes control the ball for almost 37 minutes. It wasn’t enough. Ball State bottled up Dri Archer, but the running game worked and controlled the game. The D just didn’t hold up its end of the bargain late.

Northern Illinois 38, at Kent State 24
Basically … NIU avoided the upset with 17 unanswered points on two James Spencer touchdowns and a 31-yard Matthew Sims field goal. Kent State battled in a see-saw game with Dri Archer returning a kickoff for a touchdown and taking a pass 66 yards for a score, while NIU got two touchdowns from Cameron Stingily – who ran for 266 yards - and a 53-yard scoring grab from Da’Ron Brown.
- The NIU offense rumbled at will with 698 yards, but it was a bit too much of a dogfight. Everything kicked in as the second half went on, and Jordan Lynch didn’t have to do everything thanks to Cameron Stingily, who handled the ball 37 times for 266 yards and two scores. Lynch being Lynch did his part, and while he threw two picks, he also threw for 244 yards and ran for 94 more.
- Dri Archer makes all the difference, but he needs the ball in his hands more. He only ran four times for 13 yards, and caught four passes for 80 yards and a score to go along with his kickoff return for a touchdown. He needs to have the ball in his hands at least 15 times per game. The defense has to be far more effective against the run after getting ripped up for 454 rushing yards.

at Penn State 34, Kent State 0
Basically … Bill Belton took a pass 15 yards for a score and Zach Zwinak ran for three scores as Penn State ran with ease past the Golden Flashes. Sam Ficken added fourth quarter field goals from 25 and 54 yards. Kent State managed just nine first downs and 190 yards of total offense.
- If Christian Hackenberg was going to have a clunker, this might as well be the time. He completed 13-of-35 passes for 176 yards with a touchdown and a pick, struggling with his accuracy. It’s not like he was under a ton of pressure; it was simply a bad game because of the rain and poor conditions.
- Kent State might not have any offensive pop, and it really doesn’t have much for the attack when the weather is bad – the power running game wasn’t going to fly against Penn State. The Golden Flashes came up with just 56 rushing yards.
- The Penn State defense took it to the KSU backfield. There wasn’t any time for the Golden Flash offense to work helped by three sacks and plenty of pressure. Defensive backs Ryan Keiser and Jordan Lucas clamped down on everything.
- Luke Wollett made 11 tackles, and Roosevelt Nix made a few nice plays into the backfield, but the KSU D isn’t doing enough to make up for the lack of a consistent O.

at LSU 45, Kent State 13, Sept. 14
Basically … LSU came out roaring with 21 first quarter points helped by Jeremy Hill touchdown runs from 58 and 12 yards out. Kent State managed a two-yard touchdown run from quarterback Colin Reardon early in the second, but LSU answered with a field goal and the second Zach Mettenberger to Jarvis Landry touchdown hookup of the game. Mettenberger added a five-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham in the fourth.
- The LSU offensive line is firing on all cylinders, and it shows. Jeremy Hill and the running game took control early with gash after gash, and the Tigers coasted from there.
- Kent State wasn’t bad on the short-to-midrange throws. Colin Reardon held up well, and while he didn’t come up with many scoring drives. He completed 20-of-29 throws for 190 yards.
- The two teams combined for 21 penalties for 176 yards.
- Dri Archer, still banged up, wasn’t a factor for the Golden Flashes with just one catch for seven yards. There were some nice passing plays from the offense, but not enough key ones to stop the Tiger scoring run.

Bowling Green 41, at Kent State 22, Sept. 7
Basically … Bowling Green broke open a tight game with 24 unanswered points highlighted by a 92-yard touchdown pass from Matt Johnson to Ryan Burbrink. Travis Greene paced the Falcon attack with 145 yards on 24 carries with a score. Before the scoring barrage, Kent State held a 22-17 first half lead helped by two touchdown passes from Colin Reardon including a 42-yarder to Chris Humphrey, but the Falcon defense bogged down in the second half.
- Matt Johnson was absolutely brilliant. Taking over the Bowling Green starting job from Matt Schilz, Johnson completed 19-of-25 passes for 357 yards and two touchdowns.
- The Kent State running game couldn’t find any room against the Falcon defensive front. QB Colin Reardon led the way with 58 yards, but the running backs went nowhere.
- Safety Gabe Martin was all over the field for Bowling Green making nine tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss. When a drive was halted, he seemed to be the reason.
- Bowling Green owned time of possession in the second half keeping the ball for almost 20 minutes. Kent State had the ball for just 23:28 on the game.

at Kent State 17, Liberty 10, Aug. 29
Basically … Kent State survived a scare with ten fourth quarter points, pulling away for good on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Colin Reardon to Chris Humphrey with just over four minutes to play.
- Kent State star running back/receiver Dri Archer suffered an ankle injury and missed most of the game, but it’s not considered serious and he’s expected to be back for the next game.
- The Golden Flash run defense was terrific, holding Liberty to just 33 yards rushing.
- QB Colin Reardon picked up the slack with Archer out, running for 38 yards and completing 21-of-28 throws for 194 yards and two scores with no picks.

Why To Be Excited ... Dri Archer. The terrific team of last year loses a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, and new head coach Paul Haynes has a ton of work to do, but one of the nation’s top playmakers returns in the backfield. Archer and fellow running back Trayion Durham should form a deadly 1-2 punch even with the O line needing to be revamped. Only four starters are back on defense, but Roosevelt Nix should be the league’s best defensive lineman.

Why To Be Grouchy ... Seven starters are gone from a defense that wasn’t necessarily a rock in the first place. It was great at taking the ball away, and it was terrific at generating pressure into the backfield, but top pass rusher Jake Dooley is gone as is big tacklers Luke Batton and fellow linebacker C.J. Malauulu. The offense has to find a replacement for steady starter Spencer Keith along with three offensive linemen including tackles Brian Winters and Kent Cleveland.

What Needs Working On ... The secondary has to be tighter. It didn’t give up a ton of huge plays on a regular basis, but it was among the worst in the MAC in yards allowed giving up 272 per game and 200 or more in each of the last eight outings. While the pass defense gave up 27 scores, it made up for it with 23 picks and has to prove it can keep on ball hawking. Making things worse is the loss of corners Sidney Saulter and Norman Wolfe along with free safety Leon Green. Fortunately, playmaking strong safety Luke Wollet returns.

Non-Conference Games: Liberty, at LSU, at Penn State, at South Alabama
Games Against The West: at Ball State, Northern Illinois
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 4-8
Likely Finish: 5-7

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Liberty, at South Alabama, Buffalo, at Akron, Miami Univ.

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: Bowling Green, at LSU, at Penn State, at Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, at Ball State, at Ohio

Schedule Analysis: Liberty is a nice and breezy way to start out the year, but it gets extremely ugly very fast. The Golden Flashes get an awful break of facing two of the toughest teams from the West – Ball State and Northern Illinois, but that’s not nearly as bad as going to LSU and Penn State in early September. To make matters worse, the NIU showdown is the only home date in a run of six with Ball State and South Alabama coming after the MAC championship rematch. Fortunately, Buffalo, at Akron and Miami University should allow for a bit of a breather before closing out at Ohio.

Team Concerns For 2013: The Golden Flashes have plenty of work to do even after an 11-3 season. Seven starters have to be replaced on defense, five on offense including quarterback Spencer Keith and three starters on the line, and new head coach Paul Haynes has to fill some huge shoes. The passing game that was the worst in the MAC has to be more efficient, and the secondary has to be stronger after allowing 272 yards per game. Overall, the team has to keep doing what got it to the cusp of a BCS game, and it'll all start by owning the turnover margin again.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... The offensive backfield. The Golden Flashes aren't exactly building on their amazing 2012 season, but they're getting a couple of decent players here and there with linebackers Ryan Seibert and Dustyn Moore to eventually be main tacklers, and tight end Brock Macaulay a shining star for the passing game. The stars of the haul are on offense with running back Roman Clay talented enough to eventually carry the workload, while quarterback Nathan Struck is the star of the class with a live arm and tremendous upside.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 96. That Class Was Heavy On ... Talent. After bringing in a few lousy recruiting classes, the Golden Flashes have to find players and this class has them. There might not be any star power, but it’s a big class that has a little something for almost every spot. The highest-rated prospect is kicker Anthony Melchiori, and he’ll push Freddy Cortez for the starting job this year. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 116. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterback. Apparently, new head coach Darrell Hazell, an offensive coach, wants someone to get the anemic passing game moving. The last recruiting class came up with some strong receiver prospects, and now the hope will be for Evan Shimensky and Jordan Tarver to deliver the ball. They aren't big, strong passers, but they have good potential and nice mobility.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 115. That Class Was Heavy On ... The defensive front seven. After working on doing something for the passing game with last year's class, this year was all about the defense and especially the line with six decent prospects to try to generate even more of a pass rush. LB Steve Mehrer and safety Calvin Tiggle will play huge roles over the next few years. Offensively, quarterback got attention with the pickup of Gabe Henderson and Cedric McCloud.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 107. That Class Was Heavy On ... Wide receivers. There aren’t a lot of them, but a team that has been so reliant on the running game got a few decent targets to help the passing attack. Is Tyshon Goode a running back or a receiver? It doesn’t matter; he’s the best incoming playmaker who could make an impact right away in a variety of ways. The defensive line was all but ignored.


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