Preview 2017: Kent State Golden Flashes

Preview 2017: Kent State Golden Flashes

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Preview 2017: Kent State Golden Flashes

Preview 2017: Kent State Golden Flashes


Previewing and looking ahead at the Kent State Golden Flashes season – and what you need to know.


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2017 Kent State Preview: Overdue For SOMETHING Good
2017 Kent State Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– Kent State Previews: 2016 | 2015

What You Need To Know About The Kent State Golden Flashes Offense

How do you fix an attack that finished 125th in the nation in yards and averaged just 20.6 points per game? You hope your veteran quarterback can do far more. Nick Holley is back, along with the backups to provide a few decent options in case the O stinks it up again.

Holley was the team’s best runner, but the freshman backs of last season should mature into bigger producers, while most of the receivers are returning – even though the running backs made most of the grabs. The left side of the line has to be replaced, but three starters are back.

Biggest Key To The Kent State Golden Flashes Offense

The underclassmen have to be special. The Kent State offense desperately needs playmakers – and they have to come from the young guys. The coaching staff went with a youth movement last season, and now the payoff has to come. It’ll be up to Justin Rankin to lead the way for a young, hopeful lot. The wideouts did next to nothing last season, and now Kavious Price and Mike Carrigan are just a few options giving Holley a true No. 1 target.

What You Need To Know About The Kent State Golden Flashes Defense

The defense was fine, but it crashed and burned late after superstar safety Nate Holley had some major off-the-field issues, being charged with felony kidnapping – and was later found not guilty. After finishing 27th in the nation, allowing 350 yards per game, because of the bad finishing kick it ended up allowing 387 yards per outing.

A few key parts are gone – including Holley – but the secondary should still be among the best in the MAC with three senior starters, while the front seven needs a little help. Five of the top seven tacklers are gone, but don’t expect much of a drop-off. Holley, though, is a massive loss.

Biggest Key To The Kent State Golden Flashes Defense

The run defense can’t melt down like it did without Holley. All he did was make 111 tackles in nine games, and it’s no coincidence that the run D that allowed just 12 touchdown runs with him – and was only hit really hard by the Alabama ground game – got destroyed late.

In the last three games, Kent State gave up four touchdown runs in each, and was ripped up by Western Michigan, Bowling Green, and Northern Illinois for 964 yards and 12 scores. The team’s season won’t work without a nasty run D.

Kent State Will Be Far Better If …

There’s a passing game of some sort. It’s been years since the Golden Flashes did too much through the air – at least without throwing a ton of interceptions. It’s been a few years, though, since the passing attack hit the 2,000-yard mark, failing to get more than 1,700 in either season. 125th in the nation in passing efficiency, and averaging just 142 yards per game, the O is overdue for something positive – especially from the wide receivers.

Best Kent State Offensive Player

RB Justin Rankin, Soph. – The Golden Flashes didn’t get too much out of its offense, but Rankin did his best to try doing a little bit of everything. A high school track star, he’s got the speed and quickness to hit the home run, but now he needs the ball in his hands more, He finished second on the team with 511 yards and three scores, led the offense with 28 catches for 335 yards and a score, and averaged more than 23 yards per try on kick returns.

2. QB Nick Holley, Sr.
3. RB/KR Raekwon James, Jr.
4. C Nate Puthoff, Sr.
5. QB George Bollas, Jr.

Best Kent State Defensive Player

CB Jerrell Foster, Sr. – The All-MAC performer ties for the team lead with three picks while making 39 tackles, but his real worth was as a shutdown corner on the outside with 11 broken up passes. The 6-0, 182-pounder should be the team’s top defensive back and a team leader, but he’s surrounded by a terrific group – even without Holley around.

2. DT Jon Cunningham, Sr.
3. CB Demetrius Monday, Sr.
4. S Juantez McRae, Jr.
5. LB Jim Jones, Sr.

Key Player To A Successful Season

QB Nick Holley, Sr. – Or George Bolas, or Mylik Mitchell. Holley took over in the second half of last year and was okay, but he missed half of his passes and threw just four touchdowns with three picks. However, he led the team with 920 yards and ten scores, and caught seven passes for 52 yards. Again – to beat a dead horse – the offense needs passing production no matter who’s under center. If it’s someone else, Holley can be used as a dangerous No. 1 target.

The Kent State Season Will Be A Success If …

The Golden Flashes come up with six wins. It’ll be tough to get there without any proven offensive stars and with a defense that’s rebuilding a bit up front, but they can beat Howard, Buffalo, Miami University and Bowling Green at home, they’ll be within range of bowl eligibility. At this point under Haynes, it’s time to get a 13th game.

Key Game To The Kent State Season

Oct. 14 vs. Miami University. To have any hope of getting to six wins, the Golden Flashes – again – have to take care of home. Coming into the season with bowl hopes of its own, Miami University probably has to take down the Golden Flashes in the middle of the MAC season. But sandwiched between road games at NIU and Ohio, this should be the season’s make-or-break moment.

2016 Kent State Fun Stats

– 4th Down Conversions: Opponents 10-of-16 (63%) – Kent State 5-of-14 (36%)
– Fumbles: Opponents 22 (lost 12) – Kent State 17 (lost 5)
– Passing Yards: Opponents 2,361 – Kent State 1,700

2017 Kent State Preview: Overdue For SOMETHING Good
2017 Kent State Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– Kent State Previews: 2016 | 2015

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