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2007 Kent State Golden Flashes

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 21, 2008


2007 Kent State Golden Flashes Season Game-By-Game Recaps and More

Kent State Golden Flashes

Recap: The Golden Flashes peaked with a Week 1 upset of Iowa State, but it was all downhill from that point.  So much more was expected from a team that went 6-6 in 2006, but Kent State was too sloppy on offense and unpredictable in the red zone to mount comebacks late in close games.  After getting to 3-2 with a win over Ohio, the Flashes disappeared, losing seven straight games and becoming little more than a showcase for RB Eugene Jarvis, the school’s one signature player.                

Offensive Player of the Year: RB Eugene Jarvis

Defensive Player of the Year: NG Colin Ferrell

Biggest Surprise: It’s not often that the Golden Flashes beat a team from a BCS conference.  In fact, it hadn’t happened since 1987 until they stuffed Iowa State in the opener, getting a touchdown pass and touchdown run from QB Julian Edelman, and a solid performance from the defense.        

Biggest Disappointment: The Golden Flashes outplayed eventual East champ Miami on Oct. 6, but failed to cash in, losing 20-13 and scoring just six points over the final three quarters.  Kent State struggled in RedHawk territory, a familiar refrain all season, kicking off a dreadful stretch run that resulted in a seven-game losing streak.          

Looking Ahead: Kent State is better than last year’s record, but now it has to go out and prove it in 2008.  A good starting point would be to cut down on penalties and turnovers, both of which killed way too many drives in 2007.

- 2007 KSU Preview
-
2006 KSU Season

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
4-8
2007 Record: 3
-9

Aug. 30 at Iowa State W 23-14
Sept. 8 at Kentucky L 56-20
Sept. 15
Delaware St W 38-7
Sept. 22 at Akron L 27-20
Sept. 29 at Ohio W 33-25
Oct. 6
Miami Univ. W 20-13
Oct. 13 at Ohio State L 48-3
Oct. 20
B. Green L 31-20
Oct. 27 Central Mich L 41-32
Nov. 10 at No Illinois L 27-20
Nov. 17 at Temple L 24-14
Nov. 24
Buffalo L 30-23 OT

Nov 24
Buffalo 30 ... Kent State 23 OT
Brandon Thermilus ran for a one-yard touchdown on Buffalo's overtime possession, and Kent State couldn't answer with Anthony Mazazu getting sacked on fourth down to give the Bulls a share of the MAC East title. Drew Willy threw two second half touchdowns and A.J. Principe nailed field goals from 21, 23 and 23 yards out, while the Golden Flashes got two touchdown passes from Anthony Magazu and a two-yard Andre Flowers touchdown run. Derrek Burrell made 16 stops and forced a fumble for Kent State, while Buffalo's Davonte Shannon made 15 stops with two forced fumbles for the Bulls.
Player of the game: Buffalo QB Drew Willy completed 34 of 44 passes for 334 yards and two touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 34-44, 334 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: James Starks, 18-54. Receiving: Ernest Jackson, 9-118, 1 TD
Kent State - Passing: Anthony Magazu, 12-22, 184 yds, 2 TD
Rushing:
Eugene Jarvis, 34-183. Receiving: Tom Sitko, 5-61, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... T
he Golden Flashes never seemed to catch the right break over the second half of the season and over the final six-game losing streak. The quarterback injuries were a major part of the problem, but the defense didn't come through when it had to. Against Buffalo, Drew Willy was able to throw way too easily without much of a pass rush getting to him. There's a fine line between a 3-9 campaign and a winning season in the MAC. Last year the team got the right plays at the right time to finish 6-6. This year nothing went right over the second half of the season in crunch time.

Nov. 17
Temple 24 ... Kent State 14
Temple held Kent State to 124 yards of total offense while getting four Jake Brownell field goals and a nine-yard Jason Harper touchdown run for the team's fourth win of the year. KSU took a 7-3 lead into halftime on a 21-yard Eugene Jarvis run, and was up 14-6 after a Coleman Lynn blocked punt for a score, but Temple came up with four interceptions and scored the final 18 points of the game helped by a 20-yard DyOnne Crudup catch. The Owls held on to the ball for 38:40.
Player of the game: Temple QB Vaughn Charlton completed 18 of 27 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Kent State - Passing: Jon Brown, 11-27, 76 yds, 4 INT
Rushing: Eugene Jarvis, 13-57, 1 TD. Receiving: Tom Sitko, 2-13
Temple - Passing: Vaughn Charlton, 18-27, 191 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Daryl Robinson, 17-105. Receiving: DyOnne Crudup, 7-85

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
This isn't to be mean, but Jon Brown simply isn't a D-I quarterback. KSU might be down to its fourth quarterback option, and as long as Eugene Jarvis and the running game isn't working, it'll be all about throwing the ball to try to stay in the game against Buffalo next week. Brown has to be more accurate and he has to do a far better job of making the right reads, which he struggled to do under pressure against Temple. This is still Temple. There's no excuse for coming up with just seven right downs and 48 rushing yards. On the plus side, the defense did a good job of generating pressure.

Nov. 10
Northern Illinois 27 ... Kent State 20
NIU got the lead on two Justin Anderson touchdown runs, and preserved it late as John Tranchitella picked off a Jon Brown pass at the Huskie ten in the final minutes. Anderson scored from 16 and four yards out, and cot Chris Nendick field goals from 25 and 40 yards out in the second half to stay ahead. The Golden Flashes, only managed two Nate Reed Field goals in the second half and was outgained 510 yards to 363 for the game.
Player of the game: Northern Illinois QB Dan Nicholson completed 21 of 28 passes of 275 yards for two touchdowns and two interceptions, and ran for 19 yards
Stat Leaders: Kent State - Passing: Jon Brown, 16-34, 132 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Eugene Jarvis, 20-170. Receiving: Alan Vanderink, 4-27, 1 TD
Northern Illinois - Passing: Dan Nicholson, 21-28, 275 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing:
David Bryant, 28-110. Receiving: Reed Cunningham, 7-65, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Kent State was looking for a spark at quarterback with Jon Brown getting a shot. Inconsistent and struggling to provide some balance for Eugene Jarvis and his 170 rushing yards against Northern Illinois. Brown failed to make and big plays in the second half to overcome the Huskie offensive momentum. Now on a four game losing streak, the Golden Flashes have to hope Temple and Buffalo go back to being Temple and Buffalo.

Oct. 27
Central Michigan 41 ... Kent State 32
Central Michigan cranked out 580 yards of total offense with Dan LeFevour connecting on three touchdowns passes and Justin Hoskins scored twice. Kent State kept pace early with two Nate Reed field goals, and three Giorgio Morgan touchdown passes. A 14-yard Eugene Jarvis touchdown run pulled KSU within six, but CMU's defense held in the fourth quarter.
Player of the game: Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour completed 33 of 43 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, and ran 12 times for 75 yards
Stat Leaders: Central Michigan - Passing: Dan LeFevour, 33-43, 359 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Justin Hoskins, 24-151, 2 TD. Receiving: Bryan Anderson, 10-142, 1 TD
Kent State - Passing: Giorgio Morgan, 18-28, 247 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Eugene Jarvis, 19-156, 1 TD. Receiving: Phil Garner, 7-89, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Giorgio Morgan might not be Julian Edelman running the ball, but he threw well against Central Michigan. The defense wasn't even close to slowing down the CMU offense, and the offense couldn't keep pace throughout, but the team battled back well in the third quarter to make it interesting. The O just couldn't get over the hump in the fourth. Now comes the supposedly easy part of the schedule, but beating Northern Illinois, Temple and Buffalo will be tougher than it appears.

Oct. 20
Bowling Green 31 ... Kent State 20
Willie Geter ran for 203 yards and a four-yard touchdown, but it was the passing game that helped Bowling Green pull away with Tyler Sheehan hitting Anthony Turner with a 31-yard touchdown pass and Corey Partridge from 24 yards out for a 28-13 lead. The Golden Flashed tried to rally with a 32-yard Rashad Tukes catch to pull within eight, but Sinisa Vrvilo ended it with a 49-yard field goal. The two teams combined for 18 penalties.
Player of the game: Bowling Green RB Willie Geter ran 22 times for 203 yards and a touchdown, and caught four passes for 51 yards
Stat Leaders: Bowling Green - Passing: Tyler Sheehan, 14-25, 184 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Willie Geter, 22-203, 1 TD. Receiving: Corey Partridge, 4-61, 1 TD
Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 8-14, 128 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Eugene Jarvis, 33-168. Receiving: Rashad Tukes, 3-78, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... After getting blasted by Ohio State, Kent State needed a good performance to get back on track in the MAC, and it got it, but it wasn't enough against Bowling Green. There weren't enough early scoring drives, and there wasn't any run defense. The offense worked fine, Julian Edelman and Eugene Jarvis got their yards, but the Falcons were simply stronger. Winning out is now a must. The East title is still possible with a little bit of help, but there can't be any slips. That's not a plus with Central Michigan up next.

Oct. 13
Ohio State 48 ... Kent State 3
Brian Hartline caught a 14-yard touchdown pass and returned a punt 90 yards for a score and a 14-0 Ohio State lead, and then things got ugly in a 28-point second quarter with Chris Wells running for a seven-yard score, Maurice Wells catching a 15-yard touchdown pass, and Donald Washington taking a Julian Edelman pass 70 yards for a score. Kent State only managed 223 yards of total offense and didn't get on the board until Nate Reed hit a 34-yard field goal late in the fourth.
Player of the game: Ohio State QB Todd Boeckman completed 13 of 16 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 4-10, 49 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Eugene Jarvis, 16-84. Receiving: Rashad Tukes, 2-21
Ohio State - Passing: Todd Boeckman, 13-16, 184 yds, 3 TD
Rushing:
Brandon Saine, 9-69. Receiving: Brandon Saine, 5-76
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Golden Flashes have to quickly forget about the loss to the Buckeyes. OSU's defense might be the best in America, and it played like it against the KSU running game. Eugene Jarvis was able to juke his way to a decent day, but the passing attack had no prayer of mounting a comeback, and didn't even try. The MAC slate is what matters, and now the secondary will have to prove it can play better than it did this week with the Bowling Green air attack up next.

Oct. 6
Miami University 20 ... Kent State 13

Miami got a 27-yard Nathan Parseghian field goal with 5:27 to play, and then got a goal line stop with just under two minutes left, as Julian Edelman scrambled on fourth and goal from the 13 and was stopped at the one.
Eugene Jarvis ran for a three-yard score to start off the scoring for the Golden Flashes, but Miami answered with a one-yard Austin Sykes run. The Golden Flashes outgained the RedHawks 463 yards to 411, but lost three turnovers and got killed by penalties.
Player of the game: Miami S Jordan Gafford made 11 tackles and forced a fumble, and came up with the game-saving stop.
Stat Leaders: Miami Univ. - Passing: Daniel Raudabaugh, 8-12, 186 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Austin Sykes, 18-74, 1 TD. Receiving: Eugene Harris, 4-44
Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 19-33, 260 yds, 2 INTs
Rushing:
Julian Edelman, 22-93. Receiving: Derek McBryde, 7-124

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Kent State is roughly two big plays away from being unbeaten in MAC play, but it couldn't come through this week against Miami when it had to in the clutch. The running game was fine, and Julian Edelman threw well, but the Golden Flashes have to run really, really well to win. MU was able to keep Edelman and Eugene Jarvis to 175 yards, with is a lot, but they didn't come up with many big runs. Now it's on to Ohio State, where the goal is to stay alive to get back into the MAC race the following week against Bowling Green.

Sept. 29
Kent State 33 ... Ohio 25

Eugene Jarvis tore off 230 yards with touchdown runs from 35 and 26 yards out, and Nate Reed nailed four field goals in the upset win over Ohio. The Bobcats pushed hard in the fourth quarter with Theo Scott touchdown passes of 14 and 13 yards to Andrew Mooney, but their final drive stalled. The Golden Flash defense held Ohio to 88 rushing yards. The two teams combined for 28 penalties, with Ohio committing 17 for 170 yards.
Player of the game: Kent State RB Eugene Jarvis ran 30 times for 230 yards and two touchdowns, adding two catches for 14 yards.
Stat Leaders: Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 12-25, 169 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Eugene Jarvis, 30-230, 2 TDs.  Receiving: Shawn Bayes, 3-48, 1 TD
Ohio - Passing: Theo Scott, 16-24, 161 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing:
Kalvin McRae, 16-74, 1 TD. Receiving: Taylor Price, 6-75

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
After the loss to Akron, Kent State needed a big win to show it's good enough to be in the mix for the MAC title. Eugene Jarvis might not be all that big, but he certainly played that way, with a good mix of big runs and pounders. Julian Edelman was serviceable, but this win showed what the team might become if it's quarterback doesn't have to do everything.

Sept. 22
Akron 27 ... Kent State 20
Down 17-7, Akron outscored Kent State 20-3 over the final 21 minutes on two Igor Iveljic field goals, a one-yard Alex Allen run coming off a Reggie Corner interception, and a 26-yard Jabari Arthur touchdown grab. Kent State turned the ball over four times, but got up early with two Eugene Jarvis short touchdown runs and a 22-yard Nate Reed field goal before bogging down.  The Golden Flashes outgained Akron 375 yards to 245.
Player of the game: Akron LB Brion Stokes made ten tackles with a sack.
Stat Leaders: Akron - Passing: Carlton Jackson, 7-20, 99 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Bryan Williams, 12-50. Receiving: Jabari Arthur, 4-63, 1 TD
Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 8-21, 155 yds, 2 INT
Rushing:
Eugene Jarvis, 28-159, 2 TD. Receiving: Derek McBryde, 4-81

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The Golden Flashes will be kicking themselves after the loss to Akron. Eugene Jarvis and Julian Edelman continue to be a tremendous rushing twosome, but Edelman's passing went into the tank, completing 8 of 21 passes with two interceptions. The offense failed to build on a nice first half, and four turnovers proved to be the overall undoing. The defense did a good job against the Zip running game, and it needs to be even better against Ohio. If the mistakes on offense stop, and Edelman can be a bit more effective throwing the ball, then the ship will turn around.

Sept. 15
Kent State 38 ... Delaware State 7
Kent State outgained Delaware State 468 yards to 191 and didn't allow a point until Vashon Winton ran it in from one yard out with :35 to play. Even then, the Golden Flashes answered as Shawn Bayes returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a score. Bayes started the scoring with a 42-yard catch for a 7-0 halftime lead, and then Eugene Jarvis took over with touchdown runs from four and 42 yards out. Rashad Tukes added a 56-yard touchdown catch.
Player of the game: Kent State RB Eugene Jarvis ran 22 times for 136 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 51 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: Delaware State - Passing: Vashon Winton, 11-21, 74 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Adam Shrewsbury, 4-39. Receiving: Shaheer McBride, 3-20
Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 18-33, 267 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Eugene Jarvis, 22-136, 1 TD. Receiving: Shawn Bayes, 4-100, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Kent State did exactly what you're supposed to do to a team like Delaware State, but it took a little while. Three turnovers helped keep it from being a blowout, but all the parts were working well with good offensive balance and a little bit of explosion when needed. The defense was a rock as DSU couldn't go on any long, sustained drives as it failed to convert any of 14 third down chances. It wasn't the sharpest performance, but it was a nice blowout going into the start of the MAC season at Akron.

Sept. 8
Kentucky 56 ... Kent State 20
Kentucky took command of a 14-14 game with a 16-yard John Connor touchdown run and an 18-yard Tony Dixon dash in the third quarter, and then blew it wide open on a 51-yard Keenan Burton touchdown catch. Kent State got a big day from Eugene Jarvis, who ran for a 10-yard score and caught a 22-yard scoring pass, but it wasn't nearly enough. Andre Woodson threw two touchdown passes and ran for a one-yard score. Six different Kentucky players ran for touchdowns, highlighted by a 67-yard Derrick Locke dash with four minutes to play.
Player of the game: Kentucky QB Andre Woodson went 15-of-22 for 218 yards and two touchdowns to go along with a rushing touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Kent State
- Passing: Julian Edelman, 12-28, 129 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Julian Edelman, 24-135. Receiving: Eugene Jarvis, 3-63, 1 TD
Kentucky
- Passing: Andre Woodson, 15-22, 218 yds, 2 TDs
Rushing: Rafael Little, 13-102. Receiving: Keenan Burton, 7-109, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Kentucky's offense is going to light up everyone like a Christmas tree, so there's no need to be too concerned about the blowout score, especially since the defense didn't do an awful job yardage-wise. Four turnovers were a major problem that killed key drives; that can't happen for the Golden Flashes against the better teams. Julian Edelman and Eugene Jarvis proved once again that they'll be a nasty twosome to deal with all season long. If there can be a little more from the passing game, KSU will be unstoppable against the average defenses.

Aug. 30
Kent State 23 ... Iowa State 14
Kent State pulled off its first win over a BCS team in 20 years helped by two-yard touchdown runs in the third quarter from Eugene Jarvis and Julian Edelman to pull ahead and stay there for good. The Golden Flashes scored first on a 42-yard touchdown catch from Leneric Muldrow, but they failed to take a big lead into the locker room with turnovers proving costing them three likely scoring drives. Iowa State got 133 yards and a touchdown from J.J. Bass, but only managed a 16-yard Todd Blythe scoring catch in the second half.
Player of the game: Kent State QB Julian Edelman completed 17 of 26 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions and ran 18 times for 75 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 17-26, 161 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Eugene Jarvis, 25-113, 1 TD. Receiving: Tom Sitko, 4-39
Iowa State - Passing: Bret Meyer, 13-23, 148 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing:
J.J. Bass, 22-133, 1 TD. Receiving: Todd Blythe, 5-65, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
It's impossible to measure just how important it was to be a BCS team, even though it was Iowa State, and do it on the road. No, the team wasn't sharp and yeah, there were was too many turnovers in key spots, but the defense came through when it had to highlighted by a brilliant day from Jack Williams, who was all over the field. The Cyclone run defense played well, but the combination of Eugene Jarvis and Edelman still produced a grinding, effective game. They'll have to control the clock to have a shot against Kentucky next week.

Aug. 30 – at Iowa State
Offense: Bret Meyer might be the Big 12's best quarterback, Todd Blythe is an All-America caliber receiver leading a good corps, and in time, Jason Scales and JUCO transfer J.J. Bass will be strong runners. None of it will matter if the line doesn't go from abysmal to at least mediocre. That might be a problem with four starters gone and no developed depth whatsoever. The team will rely on a slew of JUCO transfer and career benchwarmers to patch together a front five that will try to allow fewer than the 38 sacks given up last year. Expect Meyer to be everything for the offense with the passing game front and center early on. Because of the concerns on the line, Meyer will use his mobility to try to buy time and get the ball out of his hands quicker while on the move.
Defense: A complete and total disaster last season, defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt has his work cut out for him with a mediocre collection of talents and few obvious stars to build around other than outside linebackers Alvin Bowen and Jon Banks. The defensive front should be more aggressive and better at getting into the backfield, but will the lack of size cost them in the running game? For a while, yes. The secondary is the bigger concern after giving up yards in bunches and without a true number one cover-corner to count on. Linebacker is the strength to build around, and it could be even better if Adam Carper returns ready to go from a knee injury.


Sept. 8 – at Kentucky
Offense: The Wildcat offense exploded last year thanks to the emergence of Andre Woodson as a superstar quarterback. It'll be bombs away once again, as Woodson chose to come back for his senior year and will have all his weapons at his disposal. Keenan Burton finally stayed healthy, and he became one of the SEC's most lethal receivers. Dicky Lyons, tight end Jacob Tamme, and running back Rafael Little are also back, with Little healthy enough again to be one of the SEC's best all-around offensive weapons. The problem is the line, which is mediocre at best, a liability at worst. It could be what keeps the Wildcats from being special.
Defense: Defensive coordinator Mike Archer is gone, and now former secondary coach Steve Brown will take over in an attempt to revive one of the nation's worst defenses. The run defense won't be any good again with little size up front, but the secondary should be better with excellent speed and good young prospects. It'll take awhile to see any improvement overall, but there's enough overall athleticism to expect things to be a bit better.

Sept. 15 – Delaware State

Sept. 22 – at Akron
Offense: The offense was a major disappointment last season with almost no production from a veteran offensive line and too much of a reliance on the passing game. Now the running game, with a good 1-2 punch of Dennis Kennedy and Andre Walker, should provide more pop, but the the line, with four new starters, has to be far better. The quarterback situation will be unsettled going into the fall with Carlton Jackson, Chris Jaquemain, and Sean Hakes all in the race. The receiving corps is fast and experienced, and now everyone has to play beyond their talent level to help out whoever the new passer will be.
Defense: The 3-3-5 defense of Jim Fleming was excellent last year, and it should be even better with eight starters returning and the right pieces in place. To run this type of defense, you need big linemen. Check. The Zips have 300-pounders in a rotation at tackle and big size at the other two spots. You need playmaking linebackers. Check. Three starters return with excellent depth to rotate in. You also need a secondary to hold it's own. Not a problem. Four starters return in the back five led by veteran corners Reggie Corner and Davanzo Tate.

Sept. 29 – at Ohio
Offense: You know the fastball is coming, but can you hit it? Ohio will try to add more passing to the attack, but this is a running team that'll pound away with Kalvin McRae behind a good, though not as good as last year, offensive line. The attack has to be more versatile after being stuck in the mud against the good teams on the schedule, and that's where new starting quarterback Brad Bower comes in. He'll be looking to add more passing to the mix, but he doesn't have a great receiving corps to work with. The tight ends will get more involved this year to try to keep things moving.
Defense: The defense made a night-and-day improvement from 2005, and should be among the best in the MAC again if replacements can be found for the three star linebackers and All-MAC corner T.J. Wright. The defensive line is big and active, and it needs to be stronger against the run. Getting into the backfield won't be a problem with All-MAC end Jameson Hartke leading the way. The safeties will be fantastic leading a deep and talented group. It's all up to the linebackers, who have talent, but are relatively inexperienced and haven't stayed healthy.


Oct. 6 - Miami University
Offense: It's all about the offensive line. The front five was hit by injuries last season and the whole machine broke down with no running game, an obscene amount of sacks, and not enough of a passing game. Now the line is experienced with decent depth, the running backs should be solid as long as Brandon Murphy is over his ankle problems, and Mike Kokal has the potential to be the MAC's most effective all-around quarterback. And then there's the receiving corps. With Ryne Robinson gone, there's no proven number one receiver, but there's a boatload of speed on the outside in Dustin Woods and Armand Robinson. While they'll make big plays, someone has to become a go-to guy.
Defense: There were huge concerns about the defense going into last season with only two returning starters, but the lumps taken against the run and against way too many mediocre offenses should pay off in a return to the days when MU had one of the MAC's best defenses. While just six starters are back, there are more than enough promising options at several positions to create good overall competition and have more depth than there's been in a long time. The pass rush needs to be better with Craig Mester needing to get back to form to help out junior end Joe Coniglio. Joey Hudson and Clayton Mullins form one of the MAC's best 1-2 linebacking punches, while the secondary should be one of the team's strengths led by speedy corner Jerrid Gaines and veteran safety Robbie Wilson.


Oct. 13 – at Ohio State
Offense: You don't get better after losing Ted Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez, Antonio Pittman, and, oh yeah, some quarterback who won a Heisman and owned Michigan. While many will predict doom and gloom, the offense might crank out close to as many yards as last year when it was 26th in the nation as long as Chris Wells holds up and becomes the running back everyone's expecting him to be, and new starting quarterback Todd Boeckman is merely above average. The receiving corps is talented, but untested, while there's plenty of reason to be excited about a line that'll field one of the best starting fives in the nation. Tackles Alex Boone and Kirk Barton and guard Steve Rehring will be first day draft picks. Welcome back to Tressel ball with more running and fewer shots taken down the field.
Defense: A question mark last year thanks to a ton of turnover, the defense reloaded and should be fantastic as long as the tackles and safeties shine and a second corner emerges on the other side of Malcolm Jenkins. There are stars to build around, with Jenkins, LB James Laurinaitis and end Vernon Gholston among the best in the country, while there are emerging stars, as always around OSU, in like linebackers Larry Grant and Ross Homan and end Lawrence Wilson. Don't expect too many bells and whistles; this D will beat teams by simply being far more athletic.

Oct. 20 - Bowling Green
Offense: The offense went from being all-pass, no-run in 2005 to being a running team last year thanks to mobile quarterbacks in Anthony Turner, and early on, Freddie Barnes. Now there's a battle between Turner and Tyler Sheehan for the starting job with the hopes of balancing things out. The backfield should be excellent with the addition of JUCO transfer Eric Ransom to go along with power of Chris Bullock and Dan Macon. All-star center Kory Lichtensteiger leads a a good line that should get better and better as the year goes on. The one area of development will be receiver with some deep threats needing to emerge to go along with mid-range possession-target Corey Partridge.
Defense: Bowling Green might not always be a brick wall on defense, but it will do whatever it can to make plays all over the field. Last year this was a break-but-don't bend defense giving up points, but not yards. Now it needs to stiffen. With an emphasis on speed and quickness, the front seven will be flying around looking to get into the backfield to dictate the tempo, while the solid secondary will benefit. There might be problems against the better power running teams with a new set of tackles and smallish linebacking corps, but that'll be offset by the big plays ... at least that's the hope.


Oct. 27 - Central Michigan
Defense: Statistically, the defense struggled throughout last year. Actually, it wasn't that bad as many of the numbers came when the game was already decided. This year's D doesn't have a Dan Bazuin up front, but it has Steven Friend leading a group of good tackles, while there should be a good rotation of ends. The linebacking corps gets better with Ike Brown back from the knee injury that cost him almost all of last year, while the secondary gets three starters back, along with promising corner Chaz West. This won't be a rock of a defense, but it'll be good enough to win another title with.
Offense: Thanks to the emergence of quarterback Dan LeFevour, the offense went from decent to ultra-efficient, leading the MAC in yards and scoring. The passing game became fantastic, and the ground game, while not always getting enough from the backs, hit home run after home run. Now there will be more running from the backs, especially Ontario Sneed and Notre Dame transfer Justin Hoskins, and less running from LeFevour. The receiving corps is good enough for LeFevour to spread the ball around to several different targets. The line won't be as good as last year, after losing two key starters, but it'll be fine.

Nov. 10 – at Northern Illinois
Offense: New offensive coordinator Roy Wittke will put his stamp on the attack early on with more passing plays, more variety, and more funky motions and formations. That'll all mean more from the passing game, and while it wasn't ignored last year, it was mostly used when Garrett Wolfe was either tired or shut down. Six starters return, but this is still a young group with only two seniors on the depth chart. The line was a problem this spring, but it's very big with the potential to be great ... next year. There will be a steady rotation of backs, led mostly by Montell Clanton and Justin Anderson, and more passes spread around, with Britt Davis the number one target. Dan Nicholson has to be a steady leader of the show.
Defense: The NIU defense is steady with several good, sound players, but for all the quickness and all the athleticism, there weren't nearly enough big plays, not enough production from the secondary, and a good, but not great, year against the run. While the corners will be better, expect more of the same from the front seven; for good and bad. End Larry English and tackle Craig Rusch will be regulars in the backfield. This won't be the nation's 90th ranked defense again, and it'll do a good job of bending, but not breaking.

Nov. 17 – at Temple
Offense: There was a little bit of improvement; the offense averaged 10.92 points per game after averaging 9.73 in 2005. There's plenty of experience and a major infusion of talent at running back and receiver, but can any of them play? The attack will rely on several true freshmen all over the place while praying for a major, major improvement on the offensive line. The quarterback situation is solid with Adam DiMichele and Vaughn Charlton each good enough to start after seeing plenty of time last season. Whatever happens, the offense will average more than a nation's worst 215.67 yards per game.
Defense: The good: The D improved giving up nine fewer yards and four fewer points per game than in 2005. The bad: The Owls were 117th in the nation in total defense and 118th in scoring D. The 2008 version should be tremendous once all the freshmen and sophomores are crusty veterans, but for now, there's good competition at almost every spot with no sure-thing starter. The defensive line should be far better with an instant infusion of talent, while the back seven has potential, especially at linebacker, to make a big jump in production. It would be nice if a true shut-down corner could quickly emerge with the hope that JUCO transfer Tommie Williams will be that guy. Don't expect miracles, but the overall numbers should improve.


Nov. 24 - Buffalo
Offense: The overall offensive production improved from ten points per game to 18.33. Now the attack has to be more consistent and explosive, and that all comes from the offensive line. It's a big, experienced line that has to give the promising skill players a chance to do their thing. UB can win with QB Drew Willy and RB James Starks, but they haven't had any chance to show what they can do with no time or room to work. Naaman Roosevelt has to be used somewhere. If he's not the starting quarterback, he'll provide a boost to a mediocre receiving corps.
Defense: Last year was a big transition year with several young players getting time as the scheme was switched from a 4-2-5 to a 4-3. Size is sacrificed for speed almost everyone, but there are big backups at tackle. Now the production against the run has to be better. Getting into the backfield won't be an issue as UB could be among the MAC's leaders in sacks and tackles for loss led by senior Trevor Scott on the end. The secondary has the potential to be far better if safeties Kareem Byrom and Mike Newton, along with rising corner Kendric Hawkins, can spend all their time trying to make plays against the pass instead of always having to deal with the run.


 

   

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