Kent State (1-6) at Miami-Ohio (1-7) (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Yager Stadium (24,286) — Oxford, Ohio. Television: Home Record: Kent State 1-3, Miami-Ohio 1-2. Away Record: Kent
State 0-3, Miami-Ohio 0-5. Neutral Record: Kent State 0-0, Miami-Ohio 0-0.
Conference Record: Kent State 0-3, Miami-Ohio 1-3. Series Record: Miami-Ohio
leads, 46-15.

GAME NOTES: The Kent State Golden Flashes finally got in the win column last
weekend with a non-conference victory over Army. Now the Golden Flashes will
look to make it two in a row as they travel to face the Miami-Ohio RedHawks in
a Mid-American Conference bout at Yager Stadium.

The Golden Flashes had dropped their first six contests of the 2014 season up
until last weekend’s 39-17 destruction of Army at home. Now Kent State will
seek its first in-conference victory as they prepare to take on another one-
win program in the RedHawks.

Miami-Ohio was sent back into the losing column with a 51-41 defeat at the
hands of MAC rival Northern Illinois last Saturday. The RedHawks, who ended
the nation’s longest losing streak at 21 games just three weeks ago, have now
lost back-to-back games, but have owned the series with Kent State in the

Miami has not only been good against the Golden Flashes in the programs’
histories, but the RedHawks have instead been dominant. Miami leads the all-
time series with Kent State, 46-15, in an in-state rivalry that began during
the 1942 season.

Kent State had it all working it seemed against Army over the weekend. The
Golden Flashes played an all-around strong game offensively, and racked up 467
total offensive yards thanks to a strong 360 from quarterback Colin Reardon.
The sophomore Ohio native has been extremely inconsistent all season long, and
has frequently struggled with turnovers. But he showed what he is capable of
last weekend against the Black Knights.

Reardon completed 27 pass attempts for 360 yards, three touchdowns and an
interception, and added a rushing score and 42 yards on six carries. Offense
has absolutely been the key issue in Kent State’s losing ways this season, as
the team is averaging 15.7 ppg and a mere 301.9 total ypg (ranked 118th in the
FBS this season). Reardon’s fortunes are hopefully turning, though. The
sophomore has passed for 1,587 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions,
and has a completion percentage of 56.6.

The offense would be undoubtedly improved if star running back Trayion Durham
could be on the field, but the senior hasn’t played a down this season due to
an injury. Following the graduation and subsequent NFL drafting of Dri Archer,
the Golden Flashes have struggled to find anyone who would sufficiently carry
the football. Nick Holley leads the team with 257 yards on 77 carries (3.3-
yard average) in an offense managing just 73.7 rushing ypg.

When the offense isn’t performing and staying on the field, then it’s hard for
the defense to get anything done with little time to rest. Opponents are
averaging 32.1 ppg this season in games against the Golden Flashes, and have
had a breeze of a time running the football for 224.4 rushing ypg. It
certainly doesn’t help that Kent State’s defense is allowing a 44.9 third-down
conversion percentage.

Safety Nate Holley ranks third in the nation with a 12.9 tackles-per-game
average, and has forced two fumbles through seven contests this season. Aside
from Holley, the only other player that has showed any sort of promise for
Kent State has been Nate Terhune, who has three tackles for loss and a sack.
But as a unit, Kent State has only recorded four sacks and just five
interceptions all season. Going against a constantly improving quarterback in
Andrew Hendrix doesn’t appear too promising for the Golden Flashes.

Speaking of Hendrix, the Notre Dame transfer was solid once again against
Northern Illinois, though it wasn’t enough to help his team to victory over
the defending MAC champions. Hendrix completed 23-of-42 passing for 346 yards
and two touchdowns, while also leading the team with 72 rushing yards and
three scores on the ground. The RedHawks offense should be upset after putting
up 41 points and still being handed the loss.

JHendrix has steadily improved this season, and looks much more comfortable in
the offense now that he has had time to adjust. He has thrown for 2,477 yards
and 19 touchdowns against just seven interceptions in eight games. Throw in
four rushing touchdowns, and Hendrix is the focal point for any opposing
defense. But the opponent has to limit Hendrix on the ground and try to take
away receiving threats David Frazier (four TDs) and Sam Martin (five TDs).

Aside from Hendrix, the Miami run game is relatively non-existent. Dawan Scott
(listed as a receiver) took nine handoffs last weekend for 62 yards and a
touchdown, and has shown more promise than Spencer McInnis (61 carries, 232
yards). The Miami offense has increased its scoring total to 25 ppg, and if
the defense can catch up development-wise, the RedHawks could win a few more
games this season.

But the defense has struggled mightily to contain any opponent through eight
games. As a unit, Miami is surrendering 35 ppg and 455.9 offensive ypg to the
opposition. In six of the team’s eight games, opponents have scored at least
31 points, and that includes Miami’s only win over UMass (42-41).

Four players on the Miami defense have registered at least 60 tackles, led by
Jarnell Jones’s 66 total stops. Linebacker Kent Kern is another one of them,
and also sports a team-best eight tackles for loss. Defensive lineman Bryson
Albright has registered five sacks and three quarterback hurries – both team
highs – and will look to keep Reardon contained this weekend.

The RedHawks have shown much more this season in terms of potential than their
winless one a year ago, but it’s still not a complete effort by any means. The
offense has made huge strides forward, and shouldn’t have any trouble
whatsoever handling Kent State, which is the only winless team in MAC play
this season.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Ohio 28, Kent State 17